A White Trash Christmas
Season's greetings from the South

"'Tis the night before Christmas, and the lazy, goddamsummabitch still hasn't put up a tree! Jesus H. Christ, Wal-Mart closes in an hour!" I'm far from the tinsel-tossing of trailer court America this Yuletide season, yet the romantic in me can't stop dreaming of a white trash Christmas.

See also...
... by Brett Allan King
... in the Scope section
... from December 24, 1999

Every December, TV specials and glossy magazine spreads coax us further toward unattainable goals of Anglo-bourgeois "respectability," repressing what is a proud but sadly ignored heritage. They nix a Christmas tradition that is as American as peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. You may not find the following reflections in Better Homes and Gardens, but they'll no doubt have you and yours "shittin' in tall cotton" come Christmastide.

For starters, white trash Christmas decor should generally surpass the square-footage of your house or trailer. Don't skimp with just a little faux snow or silver garland on the double-wide. String those twinkling lights up the TV antenna to form an asymmetrical Star of Bethlehem. Run them past the plastic Negro lawn jockeys you've dressed in Santa beards, way out past the septic tank (just don't let neighbors see the extension cord going onto their property). Wrap a red ribbon 'round that rusted Whirlpool dryer near the porch. With the aid of felt-tip markers, Crisco lids become fab fence ornaments. The Camaro's on blocks? With plastic reindeer out front, you got yourself a sleigh (a St. Nick scarecrow head can often be wrought from that leftover jack-o'-lantern). In short, your home should scream, "Come hither white trash Mary, break your holy water on my front lawn."

Ornaments might be up for weeks (and sometimes year-round), but the real fun comes come Christmas Eve. In keeping with tradition, someone in the family should start by telling little Gary Wayne and Jenny Sue that "there ain't no Santa." They will of course refute this, for just last year they saw St. Nick's vertical smile peaking over sweatpants as he arranged the Kmart packages near the space heater. For those who insist on the empiricism of Santa's butt-crack, it's best to say that this year, you shot him dead.

Purists may insist that respectable white trash open gifts on Christmas Eve. Waiting till morning, however, gives Santa time for last-minute purchases at a 24-hour convenience store and time to gobble down the RC Cola and Pop Tarts you've left atop the TV set. Either a morning Pepsi belch or a, "Grampa, get off me! You're crushin' my smokes!" means it's time to tear open the gifts. Rest assured that auto supply chains and not-quite-a-dollar stores have stayed open late to bring on the morning magic.

You've been listening to "Blue Christmas" and "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" all morning long. The tension builds between Oma Jean and Grandma. Post-present, pre-supper screams fill the air with Christmas spirit: "You bitch! You fuckin' bitch!" The aggressively corpulent Oma Jean stomps out in red go-go boots, multiply-fathered offspring in tow. The wreath falls off the screen door. Her battered pickup truck kicks up dust, making gravel angels in the driveway. As with every year, these momentary disruptions of holiday cheer should be dismissed with a chuckle, as Dad dons his new "Moustache Rides" fishing cap.

After several renditions of that Jingle Bells barking dogs song, it's suppertime. Long gone are the dueling banjo bounty days of freshly-hunted possum and sweet tater pie: Industrial foodstuffs mean a wide and exciting array of white trash options, making Christmas dinners of today only a trademark away. Tickle palates with Rice Chex mix, bologna wraps, and homemade Velveeta logs. Skip the Coors and Kool-Aid and try a Texas trash Xmas favorite: hot Dr Pepper. If canned ham seems a chore, try alternative recipes like SPAM® glazed with brown sugar and a pineapple slice. If you're not big on Durkee green bean casserole (the one with dried onion rings sprinkled on top), any recipe that calls for cream of mushroom soup or cereal filler will delight. Stick the Cool Whip to Sara Lee, toss fruit cocktail and mini-marshmallows into the Jell-O mold, and you'll soon have everyone singing "All I want for Christmas is any of my teeth!"

Now some of you will be saying, "Brett Allan, I don't know how you do it. You make it sound so easy-like, but I got mouths to feed and a Trans Am to fix and I just can't keep it all together. Do I have to go all-out?" By no means. These are just simple tips to help you keep the trash in your white Christmas. For instance, if the holidays force you to an uppity, "high-tone" gathering of "sweet-smelling city fag" kin, defend your heritage with a monster truck-motif Big Gulp mug next to the cranberry sauce. If they come to your house and try sneaking weird shit into the gravy, take your stand. If your uppity brother-in-law questions your white trash ways, praise his "awfully purty" Christmas-caroling mouth.

Then make him squeal like a pig.

Brett Allan King lives and writes in Madrid. He thinks Eurotrash is the worst.