The Curse of the Perfect Holiday


All month long I’m going to be hosting the posts of other people as part of my 2015 Giftmas Blog Tour. All the guest bloggers are welcome to write about anything they’d like so long as their post touched on a December holiday in some way, no matter how tangentially. The blog tour extends beyond my blog as well, and I will do my best to link to each external post from the here and share them on social media using the hashtag #GiftmasTour.

But wait! There’s more!

We’re also giving away a whole whack of prizes (check out the list here) which you can enter to win using the Rafflecoper code below. Whatever December holiday you celebrate (or don’t) winning a stack of books will make it better!


The Curse of the Perfect Holiday

by Jay Wilburn

I write a lot of horror. You might be surprised how often horror publishers are looking for holiday related stories each year. Usually these involve ghosts or some species of monster wreaking havoc. The true horror though is usually found in the ghosts we invent to haunt us from our own pasts or the monsters we create within ourselves.

While Moby Dick is about the obsession of endlessly chasing the White Whale, our curses might be chasing the White Christmas. The captain at the beginning of that story talked about getting the desire each year to knock people’s hats off and to cause other mischief in response to others’ joy upon the land. This was his signal that it was time to return to the sea. Even in this early part of the novel, the symbolism of self-destruction is used to describe this desire. It may describe out unease as the holidays approach.

Our desire for the perfect holiday season may be the same alien feeling in our lives that the captain felt stuck on land. We know in our hearts that no family is perfect, but we desire to capture perfection within our own family for a little while. We want this perfection for ourselves or for loved ones that we have let down or that we sense see us as a let down. We might want to spare our children from holiday disappointments we fear in our own lives. There are kernels of memory surrounding moments through the years that hint at the perfection. They draw us deeper into that desire and then the cold reality of all our imperfections plague us through the holidays.

Let me tell you what you already know. There is no perfect family and no perfect holiday. If there is joy in the world to be found, it is found despite and through our imperfections. Others may live in disappointment no matter how much we come to embrace this truth, but we can still find joy in that imperfection as well. Peace is often associated with rest and rest is a gift we can either grant or deny ourselves at all times. The act of wanting to show love to those that don’t deserve it in your life is a beautiful thing in all its pain and imperfection. The act of forgiving someone that does not warrant such a thing is freeing, but never easy. Finding a bright moment when there is so much darkness to be seen in our lives and in the world is divine.

The depression that can take hold of people this time of year reflects the magnification of our emotions around the holidays. The imperfection of our imperfect lives can be magnified as well. It is further intensified by those we do have around us during these emotional times and those we don’t have around.

Give yourself permission to find joy and rest despite the imperfection. Allow yourself to enjoy small moments of light and happiness even when darkness seems to be winning.

Your holiday does not have to be perfect in order to be perfect. So, I wish you and yours a joyfully and restfully imperfect holiday season.

Enter the Rafflecopter for a ton of prizes connected to the tour. Do it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out Jay Wilburn’s excited apocalyptic series. Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals
Start the series here 

Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 2: February from Vicksburg to Cherokee
Continue the series here 

Check out the first soundtrack to the series, The Sound May Suffer: Music from the Dead Song here 
or on Spotify. The hard CD is also available on Amazon.


Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Middletown Apocalypse, and Truth or Dare. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels Loose Ends and Time Eaters. He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at

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