I’d been feeling a little down the last couple of days. Hadn’t really been feeling all that Christmas-y. I procrastinated in putting up the tree and decorations, and went low-key with them once I actually got around to it. Nothing seemed to be going on socially, which I get; my friends and I are at an age when the holidays are about family, and so they’re focused on spouses and children and in-laws and not about big parties and such. Still, I felt a little like Christmas was passing me by, rushing by in a whir of other people’s lights that I’d drive past on my way around town.
Funny how just putting on a Santa hat can turn all that around.
My department had their holiday dinner this evening, and since I don’t own a lot of red or green clothing, and nothing fancy enough to be considered formal, I decided to wear a Santa hat. And it’s really hard to be grumbly when you’ve got that little puffy ball dandling from the end of your cap. It bobs along as you walk, and your spirits start to bob along with it. The mundanely taxing day at work was forgotten as I felt the tip of my hat swinging away with every step, a little metronome of happiness.
Then we were handing out candy canes and Christmas music was playing and there was a room full of people all happily chatting and eating and drinking. And it finally felt like the holidays. This wasn’t family or close friends, but there was still warmth and friendliness and cheer, enough to fill a sound stage. I thought of all the people who didn’t even have this, and my crankiness seemed kind of silly. I’ve got it better than most, and better than I give myself credit for. Why waste this time of year on wanting more when you’ve already got so much?
The party began to wind down, yet I wanted to linger. Small groups of people remained, lost in their conversations. The moment had passed, but not the feeling of the moment. That’s the important thing. That, and keeping the Santa hat on all the way home.