Welcome back to our holiday kick-off party, Thanksgiving-Palooza!
*echo PALOOZA PALOOZA PAL–
Uncle Lewis, would you please stop making ominous echoes EVERYTIME I say that word?
Uncle Lewis: *puts down megaphone* Sorry…
It’s okay, I can’t fault you for being excited. Lord knows I’m totally pumped for the holidays, now, and I find I’m a bearer of great Christmas spirit today.
The trytophen’s gone, the pecan pie’s demolished, and the relatives have taken all of their Depends undergarments and scurried home…this can only mean one thing…
Christmas is coming!
*echo COMING COMING COMING CO–
Uncle Lewis: *puts down microphone* All right, I’m done.
Yes, folks…that’s right: Christmas is well on its way. No bones about it…you can now officially put up Christmas lights, sing Christmas carols, and watch Christmas movies with no fear of irritating anyone. Halloween’s long gone, Thanksgiving memories are fading away, Black Friday deals have dried up, and now…the Christmas season has officially begun.
As a “kick-off RAC,” I decided that today, no matter who I saw/interacted with/spoke to/kissed/fondled/etc, I would offer a jolly greeting of “Merry Christmas!” to each and every person that passed my way. This was an especially fun RAC to put into play, considering the fact of where I will be working during the month of December.
I am currently appearing in a Christmas musical at a local inn about 30 miles from where I live. Think White Christmas/Holiday Inn all rolled into one, but without Bing, constant snow and sleet, and a feel-good, Hallmark-y type musical which will be presented a total of 24 times over the next month…not to mention…twice on Saturdays.
At 12:00 PM today, I left my apartment to spend the day at the hotel: 2 shows, at 1:00 and 6:30, plus time in between to relax and eat as much rich, gravy-laden inn food I can possibly consume. Needless to say, over the course of my day, I’m going to be interacting with a lot of people, both onstage and off.
If you’ve never tried this RAC, I highly recommend giving it a shot. You will not believe the positive, welcoming reactions you get when you are intent upon wishing every person you see a “Merry Christmas.” I greeted strangers, employees, cast mates, audience members…anyone, anywhere…I welcomed with a festive hello.
“Merry Christmas!” With just two words, you remind people that yes, it’s that time of year again. You show them that there’s an extra reason to be happy, and the impact of this salutation is almost immediate: people find themselves smiling unexpectedly, simultaneously surprised and pleased to hear those words again…and even more willing to offer them back to you.
In years past, I’ve only found myself using these words on choice occasions, typically on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Is it because I didn’t want to seem too overly enthusiastic for my favorite time of year? What was I afraid of happening? And why…why was I so hesitant to say this throughout the entire season?
Starting now…on November 27th, I will be purposefully reminding myself to speak these two words every day until the season is done. You only get about a month to celebrate this joyous holiday, so why not take every opportunity you can to remind yourself and others that this is the most wonderful time of the year?
And it is…it truly is. My favorite time of year is autumn, hands-down, but Christmas ushers in a magical atmosphere where wonder and excitement take center stage. People are kinder…family members are closer…lowly twinkle lights suddenly spark to life, bringing smiles to those both young and old. Suddenly, even the simplest carol or decoration can create a warmth inside the biggest Scrooge amongst us, and it’s nearly impossible to not feel the effects of the season. And the season starts now.
Yesterday, I began a small preparation for my holiday season: I met with my church organist to rehearse a song for the Christmas Eve service. This is an event I’ve sung at for the past 7 years, and the song remains unchanged: O Holy Night. However, this year, there were some slight changes to the program.
Our minister, who had been at the church for nearly 15 years, would be delivering his final Christmas Eve sermon, as he is set to retire next June. It will truly be an emotional service for me, having had him as a minister since I was 12 years old. To top that off, I would also be working with a brand new organist, as our regular organist had retired last summer.
I met with this new organist yesterday to rehearse the piece I will be singing, which, in itself, is somewhat strange for me. I’ve been singing “O Holy Night” with the same organist for years now, and I felt a twinge of melancholy set in as I realized he would not be behind the pipes this year. Everything went well with the rehearsal: nothing was amiss, and “O Holy Night” will go off without a hitch come Christmas Eve night. Still, I missed our old organist…it would be weird to sing without him.
I went home that night still thinking about how old traditions will and must inevitably change. I love all of the time-honored routines my family still carries out during the holidays, and I always feel a little sad to see them morph and evolve. But, change is inevitable (except from a vending machine…you can choose NOT to pick it up). People will come, and people will go. That’s life.
So, that night, my RAC took the form of a short, simple email to our new organist. I wanted to let him know that I appreciated the time he took to rehearse with me over the holiday weekend, and that I looked forward to singing with him on Christmas Eve. It’s always difficult to be “the new guy,” and despite the fact that I’ll dearly miss singing with our old organist, I realize how important it is to make someone feel welcome. As someone who has moved twice during the last three years, I cherish the people who took an extra moment to say a simple “hello” and “welcome”.
The email took a total of 2 minutes to write and send. Yet, I don’t write these kind of emails often enough. I don’t have any excuse other than I just don’t think to send them out. I hope to change this habit, just as my holiday traditions have changed over the years. Perhaps I’ll make writing Christmas thank-yous a new tradition this year, too. Oh, and one more thing…
Uncle Lewis: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
RAC #28: Wished everyone I saw a “Merry Christmas,” strangers and friends alike
Result: You wind up with three times as many smiles when you greet people with a festive holiday salutation
RAC #29: Sent a thank you note to a new colleague
Result: Short email response from said colleague