I'll admit it took me a little longer than usual to get in the holiday spirit this year. I'm sure it has something to do with the broken foot I have been nursing since Columbus Day.
Fall is an incredibly busy time of year for everyone, but try adding in two birthdays, a husband’s crazy work schedule and the insane idea of hosting Thanksgiving and then you have a superstorm that doesn’t allow for putting your foot up on ice.
But I digress.
Getting into the holiday spirit is usually fairly easy when you have kids. You just can’t help but look at things through their eyes and go a little crazy with nostalgia. I’ve been known to spend an entire day looking for the traditional Advent calendars with chocolates behind each window. My Oma used to send them to us right after Thanksgiving each year right from Germany, and for us that was the signal that the holiday season had begun.
So why am I so concerned that Mr. Grinch has sneaked into our lives? In a word: Oblivious. Let me set the stage.
I was out last week with my family celebrating my town’s tree lighting and arrival of Santa. I thought this would surely jump start my holiday cheer. My husband came home from work early, the kids were bundled and ready to get up close and personal with Mr. Claus and I (boot cast and all) was ready to sit and watch it all unfold. We found a restaurant right on the square and, as if rehearsed, the kids finished their dinners just as Santa was due to arrive. I stayed inside nursing my foot and holding down our table while my husband and the kids ran outside to greet the man in the big red suit.
As the fire truck rolled into the square, I could see Santa in all of his glory right from my seat. The lights from the truck illuminated the white of his suit and he looked as bright as star. I was thinking of my kid’s happiness and my own at that very moment. Suddenly my hand raced from my lap and I found myself waving to Santa from inside the restaurant as he looked my way. Mind you, I was in the back of the restaurant but the huge glass windows allowed for a perfect view of Santa. I waved smiled and waved some more and then looked around the room to see who else was doing the same.
Nobody was doing the same. Nobody even looked up as the flashing lights filled the restaurant.
The servers didn’t stop racing around the room for a quick look, the patrons didn’t stop their conversations to give Santa a nod and the kids that were left inside for whatever reason didn’t even notice that the jolly old man had arrived in their town. I was stunned. I was sad. But I kept waving until finally a woman turned to me as if to justify her lack of enthusiasm and said, “My kids are all grown.”
So what, I thought. I’m only asking for a glance, a smile, an acknowledgement that hundreds of kids are right outside the door cheering for one of the few people they can still believe in.
When my kids had said hello to Santa and seen all of their friends from school, they came back into the restaurant for some dessert. I bombarded them with questions and wanted to know every detail of Santa’s arrival. They could sense my joy and my husband smiled at my childlike excitement. Maybe I was making up for the lack of holiday spirit from the other diners, or maybe I still get excited when I see Santa.
All I know is that no matter how old you are, there has to be a part of you who remembers the joys of the holiday season. Forget about the presents for a minute and give Santa a smile the next time you see him. Or better yet, go up to him and wish him a Merry Christmas.