Great Christmas Expectations

Great ExpectDid you miss me?

I know you did because people stopped me on the street and at my favorite sushi haunt wondering where my column was last week!

True story.

Well, the part about the sushi is, and I did get some panicked fan messages.

It’s good to be missed sometimes.

What happened was I had an earlier deadline for the holiday because apparently staff members would rather be home on Christmas Eve than sitting at work waiting on neurotic writers.

Go figure.

I got the deadline change late and, of course, I’m nev-ver ahead of schedule so I got shut out.

The sushi fan said he was bummed because he’d been looking forward to my spin on Christmas. I hate to disappoint, so I’ll recap Christmas and talk New Year’s resolutions next week, just as we’re ready to ditch our better selves and return to normalcy.

Once upon a time there was a girl who put too high of expectations on Christmas. (Actually, she wasn’t a girl, she was a middle-aged woman so there’s no excuse for her idealism.) She thought there must be something wrong with her because she got nice presents and sent out Christmas cards and decorated trees, but she still wasn’t happy. She didn’t feel the way she was supposed to feel at Christmas.

If this sounds suspiciously like a conversation between Linus and Charlie Brown at the beginning of the classic TV Christmas special, it is. I love Christmastime and even enjoy most of the work it takes to make it special for everyone. Where I get into trouble is I expect Christmas to feel like it did when I was a kid—all magical and exciting—and it just changes as we age for some reason.

I’ve tried reeeaaallly hard to grow up and accept that Christmas is just different as an adult, but it’s hard.

Then, this Christmas I was blessed with an experience that reignited that magical childhood Christmas spark. And it happened the same way it did for Charlie Brown.

Remember, he goes to Lucy’s psychiatry booth for advice and she tells him, “You need involvement!” and invites him to be part of a Christmas play? Well, I got invited to be part of a Christmas play! Some talented friends of mine invited me to be part of little production they were doing for a church Christmas party. It was an adaptation of the book The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a childhood favorite of mine.

narratorI was cast as the narrator, which was the biggest part, not that it matters (yes it does!), and the whole experience made me giddy.

I loved the practices. I loved running my lines over and over as I walked on the treadmill. I loved experimenting with different accents and personas. I loved trying on all my clothes to figure out which outfit embodied the true character of “Narrator.” And I loved that my family thought I was cracked because I was so happy this Christmas.

The whole experience renewed my hope that there can still be Christmas magic in adulthood— surprises, unexpected opportunities and experiences to come. So, if anybody needs a narrator next Christmas, I’ve got another accent and outfit all picked out.

Leave a Reply