Oh, it is good to be a child at Christmas.
When the magicians and the merry-makers dance around behind stage, setting up props and planning choreography and choosing just the right musical composition so that when the curtains open to an audience of youthful wide eyes, there is a unanimous gasp of awe.
I remember so fondly being one of the audience.
Waking up to breakfast already made. Sitting down to packages placed before me. Smiling in front of the camera, napping in the afternoon. Like the cast of Cirque du Soleil, the matriarchs and patriarchs always made (and continue to make) Christmas celebrations look so effortless — the prepping and baking and packaging. They are, as Marcel Proust says, the “charming gardeners who make our souls happy.” They are love.
Now that I have my own children, I spend much of my time backstage as well. Merry-making, glitter-dusting, tip-toeing on set while the lights are low, making sure everything is just so. That care and time and preparation allows my little audience to know that they are special, that the season is special, and in a way they can understand — why the season is special. It is a big season full of little acts done with great love.
But, it is good to remember that nobody should stay backstage too long. Even the busiest of stage managers should come out, sit in the audience, be a child him or herself. Take in the wonder. Sit and look at a tree. Play with new toys. Lounge around in pajamas with loved ones. Slow down and let the chores wait for awhile. Enjoy all the fruits of the planning and prep.
Or just, be still.
For as Charles Dickens wrote in A Christmas Carol: “It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.”
Hope you are enjoying this beautiful Christmas season, friends.