I wasn’t very good at being a child. I liked learning about stuff. I followed the directives of the Public Service Announcements on topics from not taking drugs to conserving energy. I didn’t play sports, I didn’t get along with other children, I didn’t go to parties, I didn’t go to camp, and my nose was generally buried in a book of some sort. Don’t even get me started on amusement parks.
I don’t really remember doing anything silly until I got to college. I kept listening to the PSAs in my head, but none of them said I couldn’t run around in the snow after midnight singing “Jingle Bells” at the top of my lungs. You have to watch out for the loopholes, they’ll get you every time. Stupid influenza.
Now that I’m old enough not to have any parental restrictions and ornery enough not to care much about what other people think, I usually try to find the childish, silly fun in my personal life. Not at work, mind you. At work, I’m a complete professional and I hardly ever put four foot tall drawings of snowmen at my desk and then sneak away to the lunchroom. Practically never. But on my own time, I like to let go and do whatever nonsense seems like a good idea. Even now, that means that I should be restrained after midnight. Especially from the internet.
At Christmastime, I try to have fun all the way down to my socks. When I’m having fun all the way down to my socks, it’s time for Christmas. That’s why they call it Christmas socks. I add fun to my usual activities like attending dances with Santa Claus hand towels. I intersperse my conversations with “Ho, ho, ho”. I post links on facebook to Christmasy things. I put antlers on my dog and walk around in a Santa hat. I try very hard not to try very hard at anything. I try to capture a bit of childishness to make the season bright.
I’m not the only one. I love the Barenaked Ladies album, Barenaked for Christmas, in general but the most fun song on there is Sleigh Ride. That just SOUNDS like a bunch of kids having fun! My friend, Meg, gets that feeling when she’s bought a great gift for someone and just can’t wait for him to open it up. She was telling me about a present she bought like that last night and she just lit up and even shook a little with her excitement. I completely agree, of course. Giving a gift is like setting up a surprise and just waiting for your lucky victim to walk into it. Surprise!
I think that if people never had fun in their childhood, or have lost that sense of glee, it must make it harder to enjoy a holiday like Christmas. I’m a cynic and a skeptic, so I know. It’s easier to keep on acting like you do the rest of the year, where nothing is good enough and everything is a big plot by The Man. People can get so caught up in trying to prove that they are right about what they believe and rebelling against the society around them that they don’t bother to take this opportunity to get goofy. Chillax, people. That means, relax while the weather is chilly, I think. No, wait, that’s not right.
My point is that as time keeps carrying us along from year to year and through our decades, our only true refuge from the cruelties of aging is to keep our childishness within us. Be a kid! Experience a Merry Christmas because it’s merry, for crying out loud. Don’t tell me that Jesus was born in the spring, tell me that Rudolph’s nose glowed like a lightbulb! I’m pretty sure that second statement is more fun to yell out loud than the first. Pretty sure.
So deck the halls, jingle your bells, go for sleigh rides, build magic snowmen, figure out what wassailing means, ingest far too much sugar and stay up late to watch for flying reindeer. If you don’t, I’m coming after you with a snowball. Laughing all the way, ha, ha, ha!