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Jenn Morgan
Published: Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Jenn Morgan
Why can't the holidays be more about carols, less about stress?

There is a fairly new, young gullible co-worker at my day job who I am trying to convince to go caroling around the office in observance of an annual tradition. An initiation of sorts for newbies. I informed her that she could either select a repertoire of songs, or each employee could request their favorite seasonal tune. I selected "The Christmas Song," specifically sung in the same pitch as The Chipmunks. Could there be a better song for such an office prank?

I adore this co-worker and my holiday hoax is harmless and all in good fun. But it did get me thinking, why don't we really see anyone caroling during Christmas anymore? I recall fun times caroling at a local nursing home while I was a child, but would lack the nerve to do it now at my age and with my lack of talent. Besides the fact that I can't carry a tune in a paper bag, I also cannot seem to remember a song in its entirety, so my serenade would be more like a mash-up of various lines from a multitude of melodies, making it hard for fellow carolers to sing along.

Excuses aside, festive activities such as belting out Christmas songs for strangers have been an integral part of the magic of the holidays. As we grow older, we tend to grow more serious and less likely to partake in those activities we deem "childish." For example, when was the last time you sat on Santa's lap and had your picture taken to treasure for years to come? When was the last time you made paper snowflakes to hang around the room, or paper garland to wrap around the tree? Come to think of it, I am not even sure that I remember how to make a paper snowflake. What about baking cookies? Is that still fun for you, or has it become a stressful chore that you "fit in" to your hectic holiday schedule?

These questions may sound silly, but personally, I think they are enlightening. To answer them honestly is to possibly open your eyes as to why the holidays used to be magical when you were younger but now may seem to be just a stressful blur. Everyday that I pick up my daughter at daycare, I walk past the droves of homemade decorations brightening up the rooms, see the watercolor artwork drying on the table, and hear the reading of a seasonal book. Agreed, kids do not need to toil at work for eight long hours, prepare the daily meals or worry about paying the bills. But, they are better in tune with what makes the holidays special. Everyday, I read posts on Facebook about how stressful this season is, thank goodness they are finally finished with their shopping, and how it doesn't feel like Christmas. I have both felt this way and expressed all of these same sentiments many times.

The good news is that my daughter has unknowingly brought back the spirit of the holidays into our house and re-introduced me to the enchantment that lies within the simplest of seasonal activities. We made colorful paper decor today, and tomorrow will be decorating cookies (and anything else that she feels would be more complete with a touch of icing.) My daughter may be young, but she is wise beyond her years in giving me this special gift. And the special gift that I am going to give to my neighbors this year? I will once again refrain from caroling. Believe me, that is one of the most thoughtful gifts that I could give them. But I will still try to convince the new co-worker to spread some holiday cheer around the office through the gift of song. I may end up on Santa's naughty list, but it will be well worth it.



 

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