The Art of Happy Holidays

by AryanArtnews
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Illustration by Tom Bachtell

The first house we lived in England was a 250-year-old Nagaya, a small but tall one. Our very cute, traditional English kitchen was in the basement. The stone staircase was eccentric and often worn, going up to the ground floor with a cramped entrance hall and a “lounge.” The toilet at that level was so small that it was a physical comedy that I swore I saw in Mr. Bean’s episode just by pulling the nicker up and down. The toilet had a handle that had to be pumped up until enough suction was accumulated to wash it with water. Do you find it difficult to get boys to wash the toilet in America? I’ll tell you. Try training the boy to pump the toilet handle. It was a nightmare. The second floor was two bedrooms and a “box” room. The “box” room fits only a crib and a small dresser. In the bedroom on the top floor of the house, there was a skylight on the sloping ceiling, and you could enjoy a magnificent view of the city as if you were flying up in the sky with Willy Wonka’s glass elevator.

For the first nine to ten months in England, I was fascinated by the charm and scent of climbing roses, which grow like wildflowers over the brick walls of the backyard. One neighbor played classical music on the piano, and the notes were quietly flowing through a thick stone wall. We shared another wall with the old church. Their choir sounded like an angel. The French wine I drank at the sidewalk cafe shattered my ambitions. It was floating for the first 10 months, as it was starring in a rom-com.

England’s eccentricity was adorable. Every day, the mail carrier did his round on his official red bike. It was so symbolic that it was cardiac arrest. He dropped in at our house and dropped a mailbox from the door onto the front door mat below. I sigh at all that joy, collect posts, and throw envelopes into the pile for later reading. The British are obsessed with these vaguely recycled-looking grainy brown envelopes that look harmless like junk mail. By the time I thought a lot to them, I had collected an impressive pile of these brown envelopes.

Eventually, my collection of brown envelopes continued to spill and couldn’t be contained. I finally sat down and opened a pile of brown envelopes with a cup of tea one rainy morning, completely expecting a round pile from the pastor. Instead, it became clear very quickly that the executives were just a little further apart. Apparently those speed cameras I passed by weren’t dummies. They were real. Apparently, I had accumulated about hundreds of millions of speed tickets and didn’t pay them. Apparently, the court date has passed and I was fortunately unaware. Apparently, His Majesty’s court service was quite dissatisfied with me.

And that’s when my friends, I returned to the real world.

There is art that harmonizes fantasy with the often disturbing reality of life. Sometimes fantasy seems to remain fantasy. The gap between what is in heaven in your head and what is likely to happen in the real world is simply too far apart. I hate dismantling dreams, but I wonder what would happen this month if I abandoned the Hallmark Channel fantasy and accepted reality instead. What if you move slowly and taste what? What if I stop “shrugging” myself? Or do you compare yourself to others? Holy smoke, what if we enjoyed it?

Merry Christmas! May you do your best with the energy you have.

Check the T-Ann website ( and for more information or to contact us. She is on Instagram @ tannpiercecoaching and @ the.confidence.triangle. If you attend Wendy Ward, please contact DM T-Ann immediately to tell us what you’ve been doing in the last few years.

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