“Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself.” ~ Francis C. Farley
There are just two more weeks until Christmas. But you know, it still doesn’t really feel like Christmas to me.
I’m currently in the holiday spirit wasteland-that time after you leave adolescence but before the fun of Christmas is reignited by the arrival of Santa Claus-believing children. Some time during this period, typically in college, the holiday season starts to feel like any other time of year. You barely notice it and then suddenly Christmas comes and goes.
It’s all part of growing up, of course. But while we advocate striving for mature manhood here on AoM, we also believe that paradoxically enough, the mature man is someone who retains a good deal of his boyish spirit. He simply knows how to harness it-when to reign it in and when to let it out. The holiday season is an appropriate time for the latter.
I don’t know if there’s anything distinctly manly about the holiday season, but I do know that I’ve always really admired men who truly get into it. The men who don red vests and cheesy sweaters, who put up elaborate light displays and put on Santa suits, the ones who delight in finding just the right gift for people, and who just seem….jolly. Their eyes have that unmistakable twinkle of a man who hasn’t given up on the idea of magic.
These men understand that while you have to grow up, it’s important to maintain a sense of wonder about the world and its possibilities. That in a cynical age, it’s okay to let go sometimes and tap into our less jaded selves.
So if your holiday spirit-o-meter has been running low, here are 11 steps to letting in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Christmas and getting into the holiday spirit.
“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth!” ~ Charles Dickens
1. Turn on the holiday tunes. Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit faster than music. Once you hear those familiar notes, those same strains you’ve been singing along with since you were 5, the warm and fuzzy Christmas feelings come rushing back. But to have maximum effect, you’ve got to listen to the good stuff, the classics. And sing along. Because as Buddy the Elf has wisely instructed us, “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” Here’s a few of my favorites:
- White Christmas-Bing Crosby
- The Christmas Song-Nat King Cole
- Holly Jolly Christmas-Burl Ives
- It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas-Bing Crosby
- Sleigh Ride-Johnny Mathis
- The Most Wonderful Time of the Year-Andy Williams
And when it comes to albums, you can’t go wrong with
- Merry Christmas by Johnny Mathis
- White Christmas by Bing Crosby
- The Spirit of Christmas by Ray Charles
- The Best of Christmas Cocktails by UltraLounge (has the best rendition of “Sleigh Ride” I’ve ever heard)
- Christmas Portraits by The Carpenters
2. Watch some old school Christmas cartoons. When I was a kid, a holiday tradition my family had was watching old Christmas cartoons. We had a VHS with a bunch of cartoons from the 1930s and 40s that are in the public domain. We watched it so much, the tape wore out and we had to chuck the video. It’s been years since I’ve seen these charming Christmas cartoons, but thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I’m able to recapture a piece of my childhood. Here are 2 of my favorites: