I heard Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas” last week. The season was official for me then. If I had any one of the ponchos that Grandma had crocheted for me when I was a kid, I’d still be wearing it around my waist like a skirt and prancing around the house to Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”! (The ONLY version worth listening to.)
(Hmmm…I must have something…)
There’s something about Christmastime… I love it just as much as my Birthdaytime—and I love my Birthdaytime. But my Birthday is a personal thing; I love having it all to myself (except for Gandhi, Groucho Marx and Sting—but two of them are no longer here, and the third did not send me a card. Still not bad company, I think). And it’s fair; keep one holiday to myself, share the other.
There’s magic in Christmas, and I believe in magic. Last year I talked about Christmas with a friend of mine, and wrote about a bit of my perspective after that conversation (Christmas, Like Life is Meaningless). I still feel that way; my slant today comes from the beginning of the season.
For those who want to “Bah Humbug” right away and immediately warm up to the common gripe that Christmas is too commercial, and too much about greed, and has lost its meaning, etc., I won’t disagree with any of you on that totally. But there is still so much more about it, and it’s that other stuff that I focus on.
Is there anything more exciting than that first feeling that Christmas is coming? The happiest music (even the sad stuff), and the lights…
I love the lights (oooooh SPAAAHKLEY!). One of my favorite things to do is lay under the tree, all warm under a blanket, and just stare up into the lights…
The collective mindset around Christmas time is more positive, and it’s palpable. Even the most jaded people can’t deny that—even if they believe it comes from foolishness (I always was a fool). But think about this: who appreciates Christmas the most? The children, right? Whose beliefs are the most pure? Theirs. Every single year there are new children being born, and every single year their parents put on Christmas for them. And they believe. They haven’t learned yet to water down anything, and their collective, unconditional beliefs will always overshadow those of the hardened, fearful, stressed-out adults, no matter who is in the majority. The purest magic is always the strongest. This is true of any day, really, but Christmas brings it all together at once. And even those of you who want to poo-poo anything I’m saying cannot deny that you do get even the tiniest happy tingle when you see a child’s eyes light up in wonder and awe at a special ornament, the lights, Santa…a light that’s magic all by itself. Sometimes it makes us remember when we used to feel like that—and even if the moment is quickly replaced by whatever we feel took that light away, we have remembered it for a moment. For that one moment we believed again, too.
I will say the same thing I said about my birthday this year: I’m not where I wanted to be by this age, I certainly have days where I’m upset that I don’t have what I want, I’m not financially secure, I wish I’d done better, blah blah blah, whine whine whine… and I’ve had my share of disappointments and tragedies (just like everyone else), but even that still never takes away from the excitement, anticipation and hope that I get this time of year. And it’s never stopped me from feeling it every other year (even if some years were a teensy bit more diluted). To be able to continuously feel that hopeful anticipation every single year says something to me; it says that no matter how…disappointed I may feel at any other time (and I’m not talking in terms of material possessions or gifts—at any point throughout this piece of fluff), I still believe…in everything. And the fact that it keeps coming back every year means that I never fully lose it. Which also means that my life can’t be that bad, can it?
Of course, I may have just programmed myself to believe that by listening to Andy too much. But even that’s not a bad thing. Repetition is what helps people learn…or allows them to become brainwashed, desensitized—whatever (even that is a type of learning). Yes, that is a bit of a downsized generalization—but it’s true. We tend to focus on the less positive side most of the time, but it works on the other side as well. That’s how children come to believe what their parents believe, how we learned our ABC (next time won’t you sing with me), the reason affirmations can work, how those of us growing up on Sesame Street learned to count to ten in Spanish, and how we learned Jenny’s phone number (you just sang it, didn’t you?)…if something gets drummed into your head long enough, it becomes a lesson, a belief, a reality, a truth.
Christmas gets drummed into our heads, too. And the first number of beats we hear are positive, over and over and over. This type of repetition is never bad. Wanna talk about affirmations? What words do we see everywhere at Christmas? JOY. HOPE. FAITH. LOVE. BELIEVE. REJOICE. Simple reminders of the good that we may think we skip over with our “Christmas is too commercial” attitude that our subconscious notices still. A type of programming? Maybe. In this case, so what? It counteracts the negative. A good message is a good message, no matter where it comes from.
Many people believe that people are nicer at Christmas (I didn’t say all), and that’s a good thing, too. It encourages more people to notice it when it’s happening, and to be nicer, too. It’s as contagious as a smile is. The more it happens, the more it will happen. Take the smile wherever it comes from.
And I will continue to inundate myself with the lights, the music, and every single variation of “A Christmas Carol” ever made (“Why? Because I like liiiiife!”). It makes me feel good. I treasure being able to feel this way.
Keep hope. Have faith. Be nice. When things seem dark remember that lights shine their brightest in the darkness.
And the lights are SO pretty…