When I was a kid I was easily excitable. Okay, overly excitable. I was frequently called “hyperactive.” The approach of Christmas was more than my limited ability to control myself could handle. During the month of December, when the hymns changed to Christmas carols, I became so wired that I vibrated the entire pew as I attempted to sit through church. People chose to avoid or join the row I sat on based on whether they feared motion sickness or hoped to get a free, vibrating massage during the service.
By Christmas eve I was entirely unable to sleep. I tried desperately to fall asleep so Christmas would be there sooner. But the minutes ticked by like hours. When I did fall asleep I would wake two or three hours later, say at 4:00 in the morning. There was no way I was falling asleep again, I was ready to bolt to the living room. That’s why my parents locked me in the basement on Christmas eve. I am not kidding; my siblings and I were locked in the basement until my parents awoke and set us free.
When I was 14, I decided that I did not want to spend another Christmas eve staring at the ceiling. So I played it cool. No joining in singing when a Christmas song came on the radio. No wondering what I would get that year. I ignored all the festivities around me. On Christmas eve, just as I’d hoped, I was able to fall asleep easily. It was a younger sibling, not myself, that woke me up the next morning. Then I went upstairs to greet the joy of Christmas morning. Except…it wasn’t there. Try as I might, I could not get excited about Christmas that year. I had killed Christmas, and it was my own doing.
We’ve all been there; too busy, not enough money, people arguing over tiny things. In spite of it all, I am trying to be excited this year. I sing with the carols and try to let little things go. It’s not going to be a perfect Christmas, probably not even close. But I hope I am up all night staring at the ceiling anyway.