In the 1944 musical Meet Me In St. Louis, Judy Garland (of course) introduced the world to the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which features this line: "Make the yuletide gay." This could have been a watershed moment in homosexual pop culture, inspiring millions of people to turn the holiday into an over-the-top, fabulous celebration. ("Okay, Judy, I will," they said under their breath -- and BOOM, tinsel was born.)
Yes, there's some merit to the argument that used pre-Stonewall, the word "gay" just meant "happy and carefree." Just last year Hallmark got tongues wagging when it changed out that very word from the old holiday jam "Deck the Halls" (with a lyrical origin of 1867) and replaced it with "fun" in a bizarre sweater ornament that seemed crafted to annoy the very (only?) demographic that would ever purchase such a product. Scores of LGBTQ organizations took note and pestered Hallmark with threats of black coal and clothing gifts a size too small with no receipt, and managed to get the company to admit that it had no right to take the "gay" out of Christmas. After all, one of the primary activities of this holiday includes decorating a giant phallic symbol with dozens of shiny balls and then covering everything in (Judy) garland and lace.
Whether you like it or not, Christmas was and always will be gay -- in every definition of the word. Here are five ways to make sure your holiday is fabulous, same sex-y and maybe just a bit too much.
See also: The Five Best Foreign Christmas Films
5) Tom Of Finland Cologne Christmas is prime time to remind your lover that sometimes you wish he smelled different. And who better understands the musk that all men desire than Finnish artist Tom of Finland, whose homoerotic drawings of the male form influenced generations of gay fantasy? Whether shopping for your lover, GBF or that cute guy who keeps giving you the eye at the gym, you could do worse than giving his a scent that describes the wearer thusly: "His belt is fastened with an accord of pepper and spicy-fresh saffron, tangled with a blond suede sensuality on a vanilla bed of tonka bean and iris. This is a man who wants to play, to love, to die and be reborn, again and again. Tom of Finland is a tribute to tomorrow's glorious possibilities." There are also some notes of sex in there, apparently. It's $90 at Min.com.
4) The Santaland Diaries Now through December 27 at the Jones Theater Based on the true story of openly gay writer David Sedaris's experience working as an elf in the Santaland of a Macy's department store in the '80s, Diaries has all of the sass and wit we've come to expect from the scribe. The stage adaptation of his original 1992 essay has been a Christmas staple since 1996, with many a young actor playing the role of David, aka Crumpet the Elf, over the years (Timothy Olyphant originated the role off-Broadway). Local talent Matt Zambrano fills the elf shoes in the role this year at the Jones Theater. The humor may seem a little dated in 2014, but Diaries remains a welcome balance to typical sugar-sweet holiday fare, just like inviting that delightfully bitchy uncle of yours to the family dinner. Tickets are available (but selling fast!) at DenverCenter.org.
3) Boyztown Holiday Show 10 p.m. December 24 and December 25 For some people, the best packages to unwrap during the holidays are the ones housing some impressive candy canes. Denver's only male revue show at Boyztown has special holiday strip shows set for Christmas Eve and Christmas night, so that you can skip the Salvation Army buckets and drop some coin into the warm trunks of a half-dressed Santa or almost-nude elf. The bar staff will be cooking up holiday drink specials while you spread holiday leer, so send the fam to midnight mass and experience some jingle bells all your own. You must be 21+; find more info at BoyztownDenver.com.
2) The Denver Divas Go to the Cell Block Toy Drive 9:15 p.m. Sunday, December 21 at Charlie's Denver Denver is lucky to be home to a bevy of drag talent and shows, with two of the best collections residing in Denver Divas and Felony's Cellblock, curated by the lovely Shanida Lawya and the gorgeous Felony Misdemeanor. This Sunday the two casts join forces for a great holiday cause at their annual toy drive and Christmas drag spectacular. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to the free show (Felony herself will deliver the goods to a local children's charity just in time for Christmas) and then you can sit back and enjoy all of the sequins, high heels, wigs and moves of the freshest faces (beat for the gods, yes lawd!) knowing that Santa might move you over to the "nice" list this year and that some Mariah Carey chestnuts will be roasted. Charlie's will be offering its cheap drink specials all night (you must be 21+, of course). Find more info at CharliesDenver.com
1) The Nutcracker Now through December 27 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House Testicle jokes aside, this yearly dance extravagaaaaanza may just be the gay Christmas offering that unites everyone -- gay men, lesbians, bi-curious grandmas and their straight children -- under one snow-covered roof. The ballet is exquisite, the sets huge and fierce, the sugarplum fairies delicious, and the costumes tight and translucent on both sexes. Surprise the whole family with tickets to this yuletide gem and your parents might just ease up on the fact that you're not giving them any grandkids this year. Tickets are available at ColoradoBallet.org.
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Dear Constant Reader, you can learn more about Keith Garcia on Twitter: @ConstantWatcher