Finally, here we are, rolling through the last few weeks of 2020… and thank goodness that the holidays come at the end of each calendar year to give us that final bump to reach the finish line, especially given what a disastrous ten-ish months we all have been suffering through in some way. If we needed the holidays, Christmas trees, merry carols, Happy Hanukkahs, dancing dreidels, celebrating seven principals, or feats of strength, THIS is the year. In fact, this may be the year to celebrate ALL holidays, every single one!
This year, more than any, we need light in darkness. The candles that glow for Hanukkah, in windows to light the way for the Christ child, in the kinara, remind us that even though the sun sets earlier this time of year, that darkness creeps up to and sometimes even through our own door, one single match can light a flame. Fire starts with a single spark, and even the darkest days can be held at bay with a tiny bit of light. One lit candle lights another on a menorah, sharing the light that was supposed to last for one night for eight days. Don’t let that light go out; be that light for others. Double up on the yard decorations, add an extra Christmas tree, string those lights like glitter. We all need the joy that comes from sparkle right now.
Normally I’d be all grinchy the second I heard a Christmas song on November 1 (c’mON, Thanksgiving is not a red-headed stepchild holiday, giving thanks is SO important!), but this year, I get it. We need those familiar songs, the happy tunes, the mindless jingles we’ve known since childhood. There is comfort in them, even though we are probably sick of hearing the ones we don’t like (“Little Drummer Boy,” I’m looking at you). My youngest kids have discovered a version of “Feliz Navidad” with some goofy sound effects that make them crack up with giggles, and hearing their laughter is something I’ll never tire of, even though I can give or take the song.
Those Hallmark holiday movies we all like to use barf emojis for… yeah, I’ll watch them ALL this year, with extra marshmallows on top, please. I need to watch the snobby NYC executive fall in love with the random nobody from high school who secretly is a millionaire even though he dresses like a lumberjack. (Thank you, Holderness Family!) I need some suspension of disbelief, some happy endings, some perfect little New England cottages covered in snow and wreaths, a Red Ryder BB Gun, a squirrel in my tree. I need some roll-on-the-floor laughter from my kids as they watch the slapstick scenes of Home Alone and Home Alone 2 over and over. There is no room for the Grinch this year, only Will Ferrell dousing spaghetti with syrup, the Mickey Mouse version of Tiny Tim, and a stocking-legged lamp.
I always wonder what the world would be like if we celebrated the holidays all year long — if we didn’t wait to help another person, feed a family, donate a gift, or let someone else have that last parking space at the grocery store. What a happier, better world we would all live in if we carried that spirit with us always — if we all acted like Santa Claus every day. This year has brought out the worst, but there have been glints of the best in humankind, as well. Over and over, we have gone above and beyond for our community, our students, our families, our kids, our patients, our clients. This year has been a dark time, but maybe it is also a reminder that holidays don’t have to be regulated to just one date on a calendar.
No matter what you believe, 2020 is a year to recognize that the one thing we hold in our hearts, the one thing no year can ever take away from us, is what is at the core of each holiday celebration: love and the giving spirit that goes with it.
Bring it, 2021.