Confessions of a Stealth Holiday Decorator

Illustration by Gracia Lam
Illustration by Gracia Lam. Isn’t it great?

Never in my life have a sold a personal essay so quickly. I sent “Confessions Of A Stealth Holiday Decorator” to The Boston Globe Magazine on a lark, hoping they’d take an interest. Within a week, the magazine bought it. Two weeks later it was in print and online.

The timing could not have been better, either, for I had been in a bit of a dry spell, unable to get nibbles on my creative writing. The submission process always has a lot of ebb and flow, of course, but 2015 had a heckuva lot of ebb.

Long story short, Boston gave me the most wicked awesome Christmas present ever.

Read the story here!



84 Replies to “Confessions of a Stealth Holiday Decorator”

  1. Nicely done. I’m the only one who decorates and now that the progeny have flapped out of the nest decorating is not done at all unless they threaten, I mean hint about coming home for Christmas. My concession is leaving up lights all year: my bargain Ikea star lights in the entry room window, the twinkle lights in kitchen, and the string of lights on the garage. A flip of the switch and we are in “holly jolly Christmas” because it’s Christmas all year for me not when ad-land says so. Carolers? A nice Dickensen touch, I’d say.

  2. Adorable, Mike! I wish my husband would follow your lead! Decorating can definitely be a chore, but it’s always so worth it when you’re finished and can enjoy the festive feeling it brings. We bought a real tree this year, but cheaped out on the stand… so guess what I woke up to this morning? It’s leaning in the corner as I write this, with ornaments all over the floor! In my house, stuff like that is typical, though, so I just laugh. Happy holidays to you and your family! 🙂

      1. Great idea! I will do that! Usually I can’t get cards out in time, so I do New Year’s greetings instead. When my kids were younger, they wore their Halloween costumes for the photos – I just hope I didn’t permanently mess them up with our non-traditional ways… probably hear about it someday with their spouses!

      1. Great story! It was certainly entertaining and full of heartland (family). Great writing and congratulations on just sending it the the Globe. What a teaching moment for all writers. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Love, love, love this!!!
        I, too, have done something solo that was supposed to be a together activity and then thought afterwards, uh oh… My favorite love was when your thoughts came out of your mouth about not arguing where the carolers go. You’re a funny guy, Mike.

      2. The above reply was not supposed to go here. It goes along with the rest of my day though. What was supposed to go here was that yah or ya is a Norwegian thing as in “Ya,you betcha!” Minnesotans were heavy on the Norwegian. Sven and Ole ( Olee) jokes also come to ya from there.

  3. What an amazing story! Plus the outcome is filled with Christmas spirit. Wow.. Thank you so much for sharing! Cheers

  4. A big Christmas Congratulations, Mike! I loved the story. Another Christmas “miracle” for you to share with your wife. (Not that it is a miracle, considering how well you write.) Decorating is something I no longer do, being that it is now only me. But I still enjoy a well-placed Santa. 🙂

  5. Boston Globe! That sounds pretty swanky, Mike. Congrats on the “flow.” A great story – I should make my husband read it…maybe he’ll surprise me. Um…Not!
    Merry Christmas to you, Ellen, and Alex.

  6. You have the nicest, lightest tough with humor. I love how the whole family is brought in, and especially how you end it, giving the last line to Ellen (the mark of an experienced married man, lol). Mad props for the speedy and well-deserved publication, Writer Fellow!

  7. My roommate and I are currently in the process of putting together door decorations for our apartment’s competition. There’s $200 in rent money at stake here, which just makes our bickering all the more heated, lol. But ultimately it’s going to turn out great, if only because it’s Pixar themed.

  8. I am so excited for you! I remember your post on this – last year? You inspire us, to see how a well-written post can be transformed into a piece for an established newspaper. Yay!! And congrats.

  9. Sweet story, Mike! I recall a slightly different version of this, and I love it! Going back to my hole again. I’m exhausted with all the exercise I’ve gotten in the past couple of minutes…..

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