Merry & Bright; But Not That Bright!

If you are a child of the 50s/60s, maybe you remember suffering a malady of temporary blindness every Christmas morning. Sixty some years later, it doesn’t seem there are any lasting ill-effects. It was all well-intentioned, an attempt by fathers everywhere to capture the childlike wonder on that special day.

Every dad, theoretically, wants Christmas morning to be special for his family. This spirit of well-meaningness is personified in the affable Clark Griswold as chronicled in the movie “Christmas Vacation”. We laugh and relate to Clark’s story because in some ways it’s our story too.

If, from Clark, we can learn what NOT to do, could it be that there’s an outline, a plan for the guy who wants to get it right, leaving the family with happy memories of Christmas 2016?

If we go back a couple of centuries we find this advice:

1. Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
2. ’Tis the season to be jolly,
3. Don we now our gay apparel,
4. Troll the ancient Christmas carol,

5. See the blazing yule before us,
6. Strike the harp and join the chorus.
7. Follow me in merry measure,
8. While I tell of Christmas treasure,

9. Fast away the old year passes,
10. Hail the new, ye lads and lasses!
11. Sing we joyous all together,
12. Heedless of the wind and weather,

Fa La La La La La La La La

Let’s interpret this line by line and see if it works in the 21st Century.

1. Decorate the house.
2. The season is fraught with the potential for stress and frustration. Don’t worry, be jolly.
3. Feel free to wear whatever crazy sweater you want.
4. Crank up a Christmas playlist and sing along at the top of your lungs.

5. Build a good fire, if you have a fireplace.
6. Maybe you don’t have a harp to strike, but a ukulele or kazoo will do.
7. Encourage others to join in the merriment.
8. Definitely tell the Christmas story.

9. Savor every moment. They pass quickly.
10. View tomorrow with a youthful optimism.
11. More singing.
12. Turn off the TV and the hyper-reporting of Oklahoma’s TV weather prognosticators.

Fa La La La La La La La La

And by all means make memories, take pictures and video. Today we can do that without blinding our children and grandchildren as our dads did to us with that bank of flood lights they would turn on with their 8mm movie cameras just as we awoke on Christmas morning to see what Santa had left under the tree. Usually by 11:15a or so our eyesight would recover so we could join in the merriment.

If you’re not familiar with those lights dads used for their film to work in indoor settings, you can still see them today keeping the french fries warm at McDonald’s.

Fa La La La La La La La La