Are you feeling the blues as we close in on… the “most wonderful time of the year”?
Things have changed, and many don’t have the means to do what they used to. It’s not just you. Commercialism has set a bar that’s difficult to reach. Especially now.
Let’s peek in on a Christmas in Mayberry. Ben Weaver hauls a fellow in for moonshining, insisting that the sherrif arrest him. Andy checks the evidence, and the offender remarks that he was “just tryin’ to merry up Christmas.” Well in spite the fact that Sam Muggins spends Christmas in lockup, Andy and his little helpers go on to create one of THE most endearing scenes in the history of The Andy Griffith Show. Even old Ben Weaver secretly wants to come to the party.
My grandpa was one of eleven brothers and sisters. And they grew up during the Great Depression. So they were tickled bright shades of pink to find precious oranges in their stockings on Christmas morning. That single Christmas memory was such a treasure to them that it made it all the way through the voyage of time, to me. And now you.
You want to do the big thing. I get it. But it’s discouraging to measure what we do based on a time that is past.
Let’s take commercialism out of it and try something different. Mind you, I’m not suggesting you don’t give your kids presents (if you can). That’s just cruel. Rather, what I’m proposing is this: Give them a moment. One they’ll turn back to when the presents are gone.
There’s five days left, and that’s the perfect window of time to get back in the spirit of things. Even on a tight budget. My suggestions are simple, and they might feel too simple to affect any change. Try them anyway. Don’t discount the power of a tiny shift to restore just a little bit of magic.
That said, keep in mind, they’re only suggestions. You might have your own ideas. That’s great! Use them. The idea is to capture the moments that help you remember why it matters at all. Spread some cheer with these five days you have left. It might just cheer YOU up.
Day 1: Say “Merry Christmas” to people.
Even if you’re not in the mood, you’d be surprised how just saying the words could help you get in the mood. Feel free to use your own holiday greeting. Just don’t miss the chance to inject some festive momentum into whatever you’re doing.
Day 2: Pass out candy canes.
One of my favorite holiday memories is caroling on Christmas Eve at the hospital. Something about it was so humbling. It put things in perspective. These people couldn’t even be home for Christmas. Some of them had no one to visit them. They were so grateful.
It made me grateful.
Now, something like this would be a challenge with the Covid-19 restrictions. But something as simple as a candy cane could really brighten someone’s day.
And it might brighten yours.
Day 3: Make Christmas cards with your kids. Or your parents. Or your brothers and sisters.
Give them to your closest friends and family. Perhaps even a handful of strangers.
AND you’ve shared a moment in the making of them.
Day 4: Watch a favorite Christmas movie with your family, and choose a scene to reenact together.
How often have you seen a movie where they make garland from popcorn? That could be fun.
Copy some of the music to set the right tone in your home. Good vibes go a long way.
Half the fun is deciding TOGETHER what works for you. Have some eggnog and get cozy with your own little holiday party. Even having that movie just somewhere in the background could be a great tool for atmosphere.
Day 5: Narrate the nativity passage, and let the kids play a part.
Another favorite memory of mine is from when I was little and donned a blue sheet for my annual role as Mary. My uncle would read from the Scriptures, and I memorized my lines for when Gabriel comes to give her the wonderful news.
Maybe Christmas means something else to you. Choose your own story, and read it aloud. You’d be surprised how receptive people are to trying on new traditions.
Get everyone’s attention. And announce your intention. Wonder gets baked into the expectation. Quiet listening could be just the ticket to seal everything in.
The truth is you work hard to pull everything off. And too often, you miss it.
Don’t do that.
Oh, and hey-hey-ho. Want a headstart? Take a drive, and look at some lights.