With a whole lot of hubbub about a silly red cup and the advent of my favorite season, I thought it appropriate to discuss finding your cheer in the holidays. For some of our readers, the joy comes from delighting your children with special presents or baking your grandmother’s best cookie recipe. For others, you may find your joy in having some paid time off of work, a welcome break from co-workers you barely tolerate. For many, I fear, the joy gets lost in the shuffle of the “busy-ness”of the season. If you don’t have kids, like me, it’s easy to slip into the horrible adult routine of work-work-work, buy some presents, drink some wine, eat the food and go home. The cheer of the holidays gets totally lost.
Recently, while visiting some friends whose children I had not met, I was remind-ed of the joy and innocence of kids’ humor. While listening to a series of extremely silly knock-knock jokes told by a precocious 8-year old, I remembered all the great things about being small. Especially at this time of year. I remember the anxiety of waiting for the school break to start, the crippling fear of sitting on Santa’s lap, planning which toys I would bring to my grandmother’s house– where I would stay for the school break following Christmas day. I would love to feel that anxious joy again, and somehow listening to silly jokes from my friend’s daughter brought all that back.
So when I arrived back in town, I pulled out my Christmas music and discovered that the song I most played was Gayla Peevey’s “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” In fact, I play this song more thanany other song in my iTunes library. I know all the words–just ask me and I’ll give you a round or two. So, I mentioned this addiction to my student intern and she promptly told me she’d never heard the song. WHAT??!! Of course, we remedied that situation right then. “What joy and what surprise when I open up my eyes and see my hippo hero standing there!”
These lines remind me so much of the joys of children at Christmas. Miss Peevey was 10 years old when she recorded her singular hit. How great would it be if we, as adults, could find that same carefree laughter (if not the same high-pitch tone).
I hope my parent friends spend lots of time with their kids the season watching silly programs like “Frosty the Snowman” and “Charlie Brown’s Christmas Special.” Laughing at these little programs is so much fun– it requires suspending our adult sensibilities, much like listening to knock-knock jokes. Don’t be so busy that you don’t take time to watch a little 30-minute program and laugh just like youdid when you were 8. In rediscovering childhood pleasures, like adult coloring books (whoever thought of these is a genius), we keep the joy in our own lives that too easily get burdened with politics, job pressures and family drama. We need to keep these joyful traditions alive as adults.
There’s a whole lot of flap about people celebrating Christmas too early. Yes, I think stores putting out décor before Halloween is a bit much, but I don’t have to buy it just because it’s there. I don’t participate in Black Friday, but I do support Small Business Saturday. I choose the things to do this season that give me pleasure– in between weddings and holiday parties, where hopefully our entire team is giving others a pleasant time.
While I also don’t want to put up a tree until the day after Thanksgiving, I do think that if you find joy in putting out your décor the day after Halloween (or even before), then go for it! If your kids are into elves on shelves, go find that little guy and pull him out. Who said we had to limit Christmas to just 12 days? Why do we put limitations on when we are allowed to celebrate? My birth-day is also in December (no, it is not OK to combine my presents). I remember as soon as Thanksgiving passed, I knew my birthday was coming up. It was like I celebrated for weeks prior to the actual day. Who says a joyful event has to be limited to one day. I know plenty of my brides certainly turn their wedding day into a wedding weekend with celebrations beginning as soon as friends and loved ones come into town.
Need some ideas this holiday season to find that childlike joy? How about spending some time with some kids at the Open Door Home? They could use some volunteers, so give them a call and find out how you can help. Or offer to take your niece or nephew on a special Christmas outing so your sister or brother can get some shopping done (or just take a nap). Go see the symphony and STAND when the Hallelujah chorus of Handel’s “Messiah” is played. Make cocoa and put a ton of whipped cream on it (I’ve heard this might be available in a controversial red cup). I like to go to a really huge mall and watch the Santa there interact with the kids and see their faces as they see all the grand decorations.
Maybe you should just go find an unsuspecting adult and tell them a knock-knock joke. Wait for the silly laughter to follow. Whatever you find joy in, surprise yourself with some childish delights this holiday season!
Holly Lynch is the owner of The Season Events, a full service catering, event planning and design company located at 300 Glenn Milner Blvd. in Rome.
*The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.