One of my favorite Christmas movies is Elf. In one of the first scenes, Will Ferrell and the other elves recite the Code of Elves:
- Treat every day like Christmas.
- There’s room for everyone on the Nice List.
- The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.
Last year, I thought a lot about Rule # 1. We spent Christmas Day at my sister’s house in Philly, and I noticed this magical thing about Christmas. It doesn’t work like this for everyone; I don’t even know if it worked this way for me when I was a kid! But now that I’m a grown-up with decent self-regulation skills and kids of my own – I have amazing reserves of patience, kindness, and generosity on Christmas Day.
I don’t get into arguments. Things that usually drive me crazy don’t impact me the way they would on a regular Tuesday. I am kinder than necessary. If I have to engage in some sort of conflict, I do it in a way that doesn’t disrupt the merry.
And it is lovely.
I know that a lot of it is a superpower related to my kids. I absolutely love Christmas, and so my priority on Christmas Day is for my kids to have a magical day. It doesn’t mean I excuse unacceptable behaviors or anything like that – but I am my best, most patient motherly self, with the kids and with everyone else, and that allows me to get through the day with a merry disposition all day long.
Every day can’t be Christmas. I do sometimes wish it could be Christmas all year long, but I know that if it was, the magic of the day would dissipate. However – isn’t it possible to take a little bit of that Elf rule – treat every day like Christmas – and spread it out over December 2020 like magical holiday fairy dust?
I think it might be.
This holiday season is weird and challenging. Everything is different. And yet – this year, for us, was always going to be a little different. Last year, Tamara and I promised ourselves that this would be our first Christmas at home in our own house. And so, it is – but I also imagined this year including lots of precious time with extended family, and I’m afraid that won’t be able to happen.
This year, I need the holidays and the spirit that comes with it all more than ever. I’m leaning in hard to Christmas joy. There are holiday things that I never do that we’re trying out this year, including outside lights and holiday cards. Will we do them again next year? No idea. But this year, I am craving the novelty of new projects and the joys that come with a merrily decorated home.
My mantra for December 2020 is: everything merry. Or, in other words, be a freaking crazy holiday elf and treat every day like Christmas. May this mantra bring me endless patience and unbridled joy for every day of the last month of this crazy year.