From about mid-December through New Year’s Day, a phenomenon takes place that I propose we name “Holiday Morning Living.”
The general population begins to look like they just rolled out of bed and smelled the cinnamon rolls warming. People adorned in colorful, slouchy, holiday-themed pajamas, Santa hats and pigtails proudly leave their homes to march through stores. Adults arrive at movies in plush onesie pajamas, toting fuzzy blankets.
Men with smart business haircuts pad through grocery stores in slippers and penguin-printed lounge pants, perusing the hot chocolate selection, clutching bags of marshmallows. Women shop in loud-patterned leggings with candy canes, wearing merry red lipstick, flashing smiles just as merry. Commuters grab their warmest Santa hat before driving to work, tipping their heads and smiling to other drivers.
Of course, not all places will tolerate Holiday Morning Living in its purest, most demonstrative form. I sat in a business meeting where the CEO — unknowingly, I’m sure — had a fine dusting of glitter in his beard.
But the dress code is not the defining fact of Holiday Morning Living. Holiday Morning Living is a state of mind.
It’s the morning busy moms let the breakfast dishes wait, choosing to instead sit and relax with their families. It’s the state in which we look beyond ourselves, and our own busy lives, and try to do something kind for everyone else. Nobody is left out of our view — whether it’s a significant partner or the mail carrier you see once a month. We take an extra moment to smile, wish others a happy holiday season, and perhaps even give them a treat.
Most importantly, we exhale away our concerns — if only for a moment — and we look at each other, really seeing the human behind the counter, behind the uniform, behind the phone call.
When we participate in Holiday Morning Living, we’re wearing our home life on our sleeve. Our softer, more patient, peace-seeking side is on display for the world, and we all become family.
So, in case you missed the memo, here it is:
To: All Associates
From: The Management
Subject: Holiday Morning Living
For the winter holiday season, it is hereby decreed that all associates should seek to take the childhood joys of the holidays outside their own home, and spread it throughout the community. Expressions may include, but are not limited to:
- Festive holiday wear
- Extra smiles and greetings
- Special touches designed to make others smile
- General, all-purpose folly
- Relaxing expectations as necessary
- Random acts of kindness, generosity and acceptance
Normal activities may resume in January, but feel free to continue to foster feelings of goodwill and merriment throughout the year.
Emily Parnell lives in Overland Park and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org