Sunday, December 23, 2007

Jolly, Merry, Happy.

I think I've finally found the holiday spirit.

I know I'm joining the Christmas party a bit late, but...I do every year.

When I hear bad Christmas music wafting down from the loudspeakers at Wal-Mart in late November, I deny that it's approaching. When I see a countdown that reads, "46 shopping days until Christmas," I think to myself that that's 45 days too many to have a countdown.

But last week, I went to my niece's grade school holiday concert, and I got to see first through fifth graders walk up on the stage and stand on risers in front of an auditorium filled with proud parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends...and belt out choruses and mumble through verses they didn't quite have memorized, singing songs like, "Simple Gifts for Christmas," and "A Time For Joy."

Watching those kids up there...some dressed in suit coats and bow ties, others wearing hiking boots and flannel print shirts...helped move me toward the spirit of Christmas.

At work last week, we published our annual children's Christmas Album, with drawings and stories from elementary and middle school kids. Some years I do some of the typesetting on the rough drafts of those stories, and as I page through them, transferring their pencil-written thoughts on paper to electronic words on the screen, I crawl inside their heads, and think about Christmas from their perspective. And that pushes me in the direction of the Christmas spirit as well.

One child this year, in the "how-to" section of the stories, was devising a plan to get to the North Pole to see if Santa Claus was real, and he came up with several ideas, but shot them down immediately after suggesting them.

He wrote:

  • Fly in an airplane but you might run out of gas.
  • Take a hot air balloon. But the wind might blow you the wrong way.
  • Go skydiving but the helicopter or airplane might run out of gas or you might get dropped in the wrong location.
  • Dreaming might get you there.

As soon as I read that fourth option, that's all it took for me. A very wise soul named Josh at our elementary school flipped my Christmas spirit switch.

Tomorrow, and probably Tuesday as well, I'll spend time with the people who mean the most to me. Hopefully tonight, as soon as I hit Publish on this entry, I'll get to hang for a few hours with another group of people very high on my list.

And still others will get a note, a phone call, an (impersonal) e-mail (shut up; I'm a single guy, don't bother me about Christmas cards, OK?) or even a blog comment saying, "you rock. happy holidays."

That's what this season
is all about to me:
The people. The laughs.
The memories.

And it never hurts to dream.
Who knows where it might lead?

Happy, Merry, Jolly, everyone.
May you laugh often.

"I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day.
We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and
humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my
Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus
I drift along into the holidays—let them overtake me
unexpectedly—waking up some fine morning and suddenly
saying to myself, 'Why this is Christmas Day!' "
—David Grayson


  1. Merry Christmas to my favorite blog writer...(well one of my favorites, anyway)

    Hope your holiday season is safe and special.

  2. I usually don't get into the Christmassy mood until it's all over. By then everyone is napping.

    I like the dreamy comment too. Here's to the great places dreams will take you in 2008.