How To Turn Your Christmas Into Performance Art

We’ve only recovered from the check pinching, ball-busting family weight of thanksgiving and all of the sudden that frosty ice-cold bitch Christmas is knocking on our door again. We love our families dearly but sometimes we wish they take example and dress up in a padded panda suit like performance artist Nate Hill – just so we could harmlessly beat the crap out of them for every stupid thing said. As panda suits are hard to come by, try to resist throwing a drunken eggnog hay-maker at uncle George (it might end up with you spending X-mas in the slammer). Was your original plan to walk out into an icy snowbank and take a nap forever? We have an easier way: Our Christmas survival tips inspired by performance artists.

Arielle Guillaume and Olivia Zitoune Rjafillah know the the true meaning of Christmas. Photo: Chris Phillips

Artist Bryony Kimmings spent seven days drinking Vodka to see if being wasted improved creativity. This year we opt to leave the paintbrushes at home and only bring the booze. This will be a continual performance. Every time your grandfather talks about the goddamn Japs, take a shot. Your uncle winks seductively at you, take two shots, your mother complains the turkey is not moist enough and your father can’t give her an orgasm anymore, finish the bottle. You can turn your families complaints and shortcomings (or not cumming) into a simple, memory erasing drinking performance for once.

Arielle Guillaume finds the Christmas spirit at the bottom of the bottle. Photo: Chris Phillips

Receiving shitty presents is the very meaning of Christmas. You start to feel bad for the trees that died to make the gaudy bell and cherub laden wrapping paper. We know Santa isn’t real so cut the shit Moms and Dads. Especially since we’re beside you when you're wrapping the very gifts you sign under the name of that fat phony bastard. But to be fair, I can’t give Santa the stink eye for that fake Ed Hardy shirt. We shouldn’t complain though, Jesus did get some gold, but he also got a bunch of musty oils that Marina Abramović still considers perfume. Abromović's recent adoption of Lady Gaga can inspire you to recycle those unwanted gifts of socks, underwear and Christmas sweaters into some showstopping wearable art that will have even the Serbian weirdo and mother monster quivering with excitement.

Olivia Zitoune Rjafillah wonders if she can return it. Photo: Chris Phillips

The food is perhaps the only enticement of this dreaded holiday. It’s Christmas so no matter how disgustingly glutinous you are, there is no judgment. This is one of the few times a year where you get to taste food that hasn’t been cooked by boiling water, and the MSG  is actually a safe level for human consumption. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, fuck yes GRAVY! Your eyes are bigger than your stomach and Christmas dinner turns into something similar to artist Jennifer Rubell's work “Creation.” Set at the DIA center for arts, the work re-created the garden of Eden. With 3,600 glasses for various liquors, seating for 500, one ton of both peanuts and honey BBQ ribs, three fallen apple trees and seven chocolate replicas of Jeff Koons's ‘Rabbit’ sculpture, this is the feast mothers attempt to recreate every Christmas.

Olivia Zitoune Rjafillah destroying gingerbread housing.  Photo: Chris Phillips

So as you pass out into tryptophan induced dreams and wake up to screaming nephews, your grandmother snoring like a wildebeest and the dog's intent on self-fellatio, know this: Christmas is a performance, but it’s not a solo show. It’s a cast of bizarre make up laden aunts, drunk-perverse step-uncles, under-appreciated fathers, sexually repressed mothers and all the rude and boring cousins in-between.The performance will end because everything truly interesting has to. And when it does and you can go back to that one person show that is your life – another performance all in itself – and wait until next year for the show to go on again.

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Article by Tristan Boisvert