I’ve never liked the day after Christmas. Being raised a Catholic, I suppose I should have been joyous about the birth of Christ, after all he did save a wretch like me. And I suppose that joy should have carried through to at least one day after the blessed event, but the day after Christmas was always more like a hangover than a continuation of celestial bliss. All those presents, those piles and piles of toys and games, the boxes and packaging that seemed to have much more imagination put into them than the toys themselves, all those things, were simply intoxicating. We had to play with every last one of them on Christmas Day and we had to play with them until we all got sick. I was not the throwing up kind. But you should have seen Harry. He probably had the weakest stomach of us all. I called him the Vomit Comet.
Any good Irishman will tell you that the only real way to fix a hangover is to have another drink. Of course, my knowledge of this comes from my Granddad Ryan who used to take us for “walks” on Sundays, which meant his dropping us off in Frick Park and heading to Clancy’s pub for a pint of bitters. We never minded. We all loved the park and we all loved the little “nip” he gave us afterwards. My backwards-thinking parents, however, never saw fit to dispense even a medicinal dose of liquor on the morning after Christmas. They did, however, somehow stumble onto what I thought was a far better plan. For a few years after Kate was born, the family started having a Christmas-plus-one celebration - the relatives, who were never invited over Christmas day, would come over the day after with more loot. It was fantastic. I can’t begin to tell you how satisfying it was to have even more of my underlings’ things to break. But somewhere along the line, through some sick twist of sick fate, our day-after celebration evolved into a morbid clothing-fest that was worse than being dragged to Gimbel’s department store by Mom to look for new pants. At least there you could change in a dressing room instead of in the living room in front of Aunt Clara.