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There Was No Elf On the Shelf, That’s For Sure

I was just laying on the floor looking at the Christmas tree, listening to Elvis Christmas music, and letting the kids climb on me when I realized a few things.

First of all, my earliest memories of Christmas have Elvis playing in the background and I think he is the reason I can’t sing. I trained my voice trying to sing along with Elvis, and he sings really low. It’s impossible. That is why I never developed a lovely soprano. I also realized that except for maybe 4 or 5 songs that I have learned as an adult, the only hymns I know by heart are the ones sung by Elvis. This is problematic because I only know the men’s parts. Also, sometimes I get confused in church when we’re singing Come all Ye Faithful and I’m like, “Isn’t the jazz quartet supposed to come in here?”

As I mentioned before, I was just laying around doing nothing. It is rare that I do this. I’m not super industrious or anything, but I rarely do nothing. As I sat on the floor and stared at the tree it felt very familiar. I think I did this a lot as a kid. Remember, 24-hour children’s programming is a fairly new concept. There was a reason we got up early on Saturday for cartoons—they weren’t on any other time. And while I remember—fondly—watching plenty of TV both day and night, there were long lapses when there simply wasn’t anything on. I loved to look at the tree in the dark and I remember almost all of the ornaments and decorations we had around the house.

One thing I remember was a very thick “candle” made out of red shag carpet. It sat on a piece of cardboard covered with tin foil and it had real wax drippings on it. That carpet candle seems so strange to me now but at the time is was a harbinger of Christmas, like our red and white cardboard fireplace which was neither kitschy nor ironic to me.

I realized that maybe the reason Christmas seemed to come around so slowly for me was because I just sat around a didn’t do much of anything. That always makes time go by slowly. Waiting for Christmas was painful and Christmas Eve was torture. I actually dreaded it because it was so hard to fall asleep and the night seemed so long. That is probably the only way Christmas is better for me as an adult than it was for me as a child.

Merry Christmas. I hope you and your kids get the chance to do a little bit of nothing tonight.

Read more of my writing at Babble and check out my blog, Every Day I Write the Book.

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