I come from a creative family. My father is a musician and songwriter. My brother is an artist and computer animator. And my mother is an actress and playwright.
Recently, my mom, Margie Langston, wrote a one-act musical based on my favorite childhood Christmas story: “Christmas with the Goblins.” (For more info about her play, see the end of this post.) I’ve mentioned this story on my blog before, but it was over two years ago, so I should probably refresh your memory.
The folk tale comes from Finland where, instead of having Santa Claus or Father Christmas, the Yule Goat brings children their presents. So, right away, you can see why I love this story.
On Christmas Eve, The Yule Goat arrives at the home of Fredrik and Lotta and tells them they won’t be getting as many boxes this year. He’s given some of their presents to poor children he came across on his travels.
Fredrik and Lotta pitch greedy hissy-fits, and so, as punishment, the Yule Goat sends them to the forest to spend Christmas with the goblins.
This is where things get really good.
The goblins are in the middle of a great and terrible celebration. They’ve noticed that the days have been growing shorter and shorter and the nights longer and longer, and this excites them because goblins can’t stand sunlight.
They think (as they do every year) that soon there will be no more day, and only one great, black night. And so they are dancing and cackling wildly, eating spider legs and sipping on icicles and planning how they will rule the world in the never-ending darkness to come.
Then some more stuff happens, and eventually Fredrik and Lotta escape from the goblin lair and learn the true meaning of Christmas. Yadda, yadda. That part never interested me as much. I was mostly into the part where they meet the troll queen, who has a long and skimpy beard just like the king’s. I was more interested in the idea that even when it seems like the night will continue to grow and darkness will reign, the turning point is just around the corner, and soon the days will begin to lengthen towards spring.
Yesterday was the winter solstice. The longest night of the year. But already things have begun to turn. Tonight will be a little shorter. Today will be a little longer. Even though it doesn’t seem like it, we have started on the path towards spring.
I’s good to be reminded of this. That even when things seem dark and troubles seem neverending, nothing lasts forever. Eventually the world will tilt in the other direction, and the darkness will begin to recede.
As a kid I loved the holidays, and I still try my best to love them, but now I’m more aware of what a hard time of year this can be for people. There is stress caused by family and travel and money. There’s often loneliness and depression and the sadness that can come from a lack of sunlight. The nights seem awfully long and cold.
But the goblins are wrong. There will never be a never-ending night. The seasons will change, the darkness will recede, and in time spring come again. Just like it happened last year.
*By the way, if you know anyone who might be interested in putting on a musical version of “Christmas with the Goblins,” my mom would be excited to work with a theater group on developing her play. I know I’m biased, but it’s fun and unique and has awesome songs. Think Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas meets Disney’s Frozen. For more info, contact me, and I’ll put you in touch with my mom.