No, I don't have H1N1 – a type of influenza – if that's what you're thinking from the headline. I was missing from work Thursday through Sunday, but that was because I need to use up my vacation days for the year.
But, yes, I have caught something and it is something rare for me this early in December. I have the Christmas spirit! Yes, my nickname in my family during the first three-plus weeks of December is usually "The Grinch." I don't always get the spirit this early because I don't enjoy all the commercialization of the season – somehow it makes me not enjoy the season as much as I should.
This year, I decided to take Christmastime as it comes to me. Instead of growling at those TV commercials, selling everything from plastic toys to diamonds, I just smile or laugh, knowing that I don't need to buy those things to have a Merry Christmas.
And, for the first time in years, I have yet to get my outside lights strung, our tree is still waiting to be cut, and we'll have to skip ahead to the day whenever we get our Advent calendar tacked on the wall. I even missed Harbor Lights for the first time in years.
So, how did I catch the Christmas spirit? I can point to a few things. First, not stressing over the lights, a tree or decorations. Secondly, listening to a few carols on the radio, then tuning in my usual rock 'n roll stations when I get tired of hearing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" too many times – what does that have to do with Christmas anyway?
But, most of all, I knew I had the spirit when I watched the rehearsal and the two performances of "Elf Jr. The Musical" performed by the Y-Arts kids over the weekend at the Lincoln Theater. Seeing those children – and the directors – put so much heart and soul into their performances was truly magical. Seeing 40-plus smiling faces dressed in Christmas costumes, singing and dancing with gusto, and watching their parents, grandparents and friends greet them with hugs and flowers after the shows showed me once again that Christmas is all about love of each other, of the happiness of the season – not the things we might receive under the tree.
In conclusion, to quote from one of my favorite Christmas songs from 1971 by John Lennon and Yoko Ono "And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun, The near and the dear ones, The old and the young."