How to Have a Gothic Christmas
Is Christmas starting to annoy you? Do you find Christmas decorations as useful as a woodlouse in a cricket match? Did you ever find those little knock-knock jokes in the christmas cracker funny? DID ANYONE? And who really needs soap in the shape of a reindeer? For a Gothic Christmas, read on…
1) Christmas songs – they’re awful. However, in my experience, people get angry when I say that. This Christmas I will be listening to Emilie Autumn, Phantom of the Opera, and This is Halloween by Marylin Manson. If you’re looking for a decent Christmas Carol, SUMO CYCO’s version of Little Drummer Boy is sublime.
2) Christmas Television. I don’t mind the odd Christmas special (I’m looking at you, Doctor Who) but when you can’t go five minutes without seeing a red and white hat it’s time to bring out the big guns. The Nightmare Before Christmas is supposed to be great, and horror films such as Sleepy Hollow and The Blair Witch Project are perfect for when it’s dark outside. This year, the BBC will also be showing Alan Moore’s Watchmen. TIP: Tim Minchin’s DVD for 2011 is out now!
3) The Christmas tree. Possibly the most fussed-over part of the festive season, Christmas trees only became popular in Victorian times. This year, take inspiration from Victorian gothic fiction and fashion. Instead of shelling out money on expensive decorations that you don’t really like, buy cheap lace and ribbon from your nearest craft store (or chains, if you’re feeling daring). You can also consider hanging delicate china tea cups on your tree if you have any to hand. The Victorians loved tea, and so do we all. I thought of Visual Kei when I decorated my tree and used necklaces and belts, as you do. Black lace and decorations will stand out better on an artificial white tree.
4) Why not make a Gothic Christmas stocking? Cut out two matching pieces of fabric in the shape of a sock and sew them together. Make sure the stocking is inside-out when you sew it so that the stitching is on the inside. Next, cut out a strip of different fabric to go round the top of the stocking. Sew this to the rest of the stocking, or you could use ribbon or lace. Finally, make a handle out of thin ribbon so you can hang it up and sew that on as well. If you plan to put treats in the stocking make sure the fabric and stitching is strong enough.
5) Presents. Buying a present for a goth? If he/she hasnt already read these books, then Frankenstein, Dracula, the works of Edgar Allan Poe and other gothic fiction make great gifts. Incidentally, Mary Wollstonecraft not only wrote one of the most seminal Gothic novels of all time (Frankenstein), but she was also a staunch proto-feminist. Scour her other works to give goths you know a surprising gift.
6) Wrapping presents? If you can afford it and arent buying that many presents, wrap your presents in black or gothic fabric with a ribbon. If not, there is lots of dark-coloured wrapping paper sold in mainstream stores that you can draw on and decorate with whatever twisted fantasy you dream up! If you can’t afford it, consider the lovely faux-PVC qualities of black bin liner. Yes, that’s right. You can elegantly wrap your presents with binliner, and perhaps adorn them with attractive purple or black ribbon to complement the dark sheen. You could pin a cameo brooch on them, and make that part of the gift. The effect can be surprisingly sophisticated and attractive.
7) Get into the Christmas spirit. Personally, I design Christmas-themed jewellery with a gothic twist or design winter dresses, but you may have your own ways of incorporating gothic lifestyle into festive rituals. When preparing the turkey, imagine ways you could recycle the bones. A Cabinet of Curiousities perhaps? Maybe you would rather wear them as a gruesome choker, or collect enough to wear them as a hatband around a mini top hat or bowler hat. Why not? (NOTE: Turkey bone necklaces arent appreciated in some parts of the world.)
8) Ah, Christmas games. Spending time with… family. If you want to spice up the festive fun, indulge in some role play. Pretend you are an insane pantomime villain and you have the most dastardly of schemes to destroy the opposition, making yourself INVINCIBLE!!! Hmm… I really got into that. Alternatively, you could convince your others to indulge in a variety of Victorian Christmas parlour games.
9) Tweak Christmas motifs. Substitute Santa hats with witchs hats, snowflakes with spiderwebs and Santas sleigh with a horse-pulled carriage. Anything can become gothic if you think about it.
10) Play outside. Keep hold of your childhood for a little bit longer. Try and make the creepiest snowman in the country to scare Christmas carolers. Cajole others into having a winter picnic with warming fires and candle lanterns that cast more shadows than light. Dark days, winter coats and trees with long, spindly branches. Kinda beautiful if you think about it. And, if you’re reading this on 21st December 2011, a happy Winter Solstice to you.
Enjoy your Gothic Christmas!
Photos by Lady Guinevere, with thanks