Well folks, this is it: The holiday season. That time of year between Halloween and Christmas that blurs by and in an instant, it's the next year.
By this weekend, my Halloween decorations will be removed from the yard, cleaned, and stored away for another year. Despite what every store is trying to tell us right now, it's still way too early to think about Christmas and all of those related December holidays. I just gave out several pounds of candy on Thursday. I still have to think about turkey dinners and family visits. Give me a minute.
I can't really think of a moment this time of year really gives us a “minute.” Seeing Christmas ads the last week of October (or as early as July for the really ambitious) is something I well remember from my childhood. But I think kids have a tendency to savor the moments more. October is counting down to candy and costumes. November is time off and big meals. December is tree lights and gift buying... and also big meals.
I've thought about what the change is, why this time of year seems so “magical” for kids, and why it feels like there's “never enough time” as an adult. To put it in theater terms: The adults are the ones putting on the show. All the kids have to do is experience it.
I thought about the “show” aspect Thursday night as I was standing out in my yard handing kids candy in freezing 30-plus degree weather. Jen and I don't have kids, but I'm out there carving pumpkins, picking spooky song lists, and sticking inflatable ghosts out in this rainy weather. Because I want to put on a show and create a good experience for other people. That's what I personally get out of these holidays.
That said, once the kid activity settled down, I mentally clocked out of the holiday show for Jen and myself by watching “Halloween” and “It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” while drinking a bottle of wine. I wanted a moment to take in what the holiday is about. Also, wine.
As an adult, and especially during the holidays, you have to set aside a moment for yourself. I know for many that's either “Easier said than done,” or “You can't tell me how to live my life.” The Christmas rush in particular can be exhausting with the long lines and prep work needed. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the holiday season without taking a moment to actually celebrate the moments we're working for.
There's reward for being generous to other people. There's value in spending the extra time together as a family. There's appreciation for taking in the “good” elements that these holidays are meant to offer us. Sure, we all have to grow up, but we should allow ourselves to forget that during a good meal or a particularly impressive decoration. There's worth in wonder.
The best advice that I ever got about putting on the holiday show is that it doesn't matter if the behind the scenes are on fire as long as the audience is having a good time.
In which I have to confess that I may have very possibly set fire to the top of my jack-o'-lantern this year, but you can't recall that, can you?
Because I put on a good show.