Coloring book, crayons and pegs from the Battleship game strewn across the green shag carpet, smell of turkey roasting and Andy Williams singing, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” were as integral to my childhood holiday experience as was sitting on Santa’s lap and getting sick from eating too much chocolate walnut fudge. Kid’s know how to enjoy themselves and this time of year, you should encourage your fun-loving self to enjoy your holiday, your way.
Caroling and shopping aren’t on everyone’s list of a fabulous time. Some people sweat just thinking about cooking that perfect ham or digging the decoration-filled totes out of the basement. Technology can help, but even ordering online can be challenging, and whether your addressing paper cards or creating cyber cards, reaching out to those you most want to connect with can take the fizzle out of the celebration quicker than Rudolph flies.
Kids revel in the graciousness of the season which usually means sweets and presents and time off from school. They know they get time to do what they want to do—and they do it, well, at least, I did before holiday to-do lists developed into a longer trail of chores than Santa’s “Good Kid” List.
During the holidays when I was a kid, December was synonymous with freedom and fun. With any luck my sister and I would get to sleep in because snow was in the forecast and when it snowed back then, it snowed a foot and the snow plowing was slower than snail mail.
Pam and I would mosey into the kitchen for some orange juice. We’d pour Alpha Bits cereal onto the table and play our version of Scrabble. I’d take time to squeeze the soldier nutcracker and break open a fresh walnut, meticulously digging the metal pick into the shell and retrieving the tiniest edible fragment. Friends would scurry over, prompting us to hurry and dress and get outside to build a snowman.
By night-fall, one of the many kids running around inside would wind the plastic white organ that would start playing an instrumental “Silent Night,” while grandma yelled for someone to flip the switch that lit each window candle in the entire three-story house. Grandpa would head to the basement to turn the lights on the humongous star prominently mounted to the attic window.
I didn’t really plan to have fun back then. At least I don’t remember it that way. Seeking enjoyment seemed effortless like sledding down-hill, but now I find the need to chisel time into my schedule to have fun.
This chiseling takes effort and determination just like picking for walnuts. Fun doesn’t fall from the filament and into the lap of every adult who needs it. Nope. Fun takes a bit of work, but the sweetness of indulging in your holiday, your way, just may be worth the effort. You may need to re-evaluate your preconceived notion about what a holiday “used to” or “should” look like. You may find your revamped version less time-consuming and more enjoyable than you could’ve predicted.
You may find the tiny pop-up tree that makes Charlie Brown’s look like the one at Rockefeller Center is easy and ornate enough to put a smile on your face. You may decide that the bakery cookies are far less messy and no less tasty than the ones you’d spend hours making—hours you may want to spend sipping tea and watching the Hallmark Channel or reading that novel that’s been stuffed in your drawer.
Whether it’s searching for that awesome evergreen in the brisk 20-degree weather or jumping the red-eye flight to the beach that’s calling to you this holiday, my wish for you is that you do your holiday, your way.
As for me—at least one night—I’ll be drinking thick eggnog and blasting Mariah Carey while I dance around my living room, my fingers sticky from chocolate covered cherries. My way is loud and yummy!
Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County, author of “Rain No Evil” and host of Life Speaks on AIR radio. Access more at soundcloud.com\lifespeaks.