Being an adult has its advantages. For instance, with the exception of a judgmental pet army, no one cares if you eat chocolate fudge for breakfast or wear your pajamas for 41 consecutive hours.
Adulthood also has its disadvantages. For instance, it’s your responsibility to investigate the odor emanating from the garage.
But no occasion represents the inequities of being a grown up more so than Christmas. When you’re a kid, it’s a magical season highlighted by the appearance of a jolly elf who grants your wishes. When you’re an adult, you’re responsible for granting and wrapping the wishes and baking the cookies and decorating the house and washing the mountain of dishes that somehow materialized in the kitchen. To make matters worse, you don’t even get to enjoy school parties any more.
Other than the last day of school and our spring “field trip” to the baseball field, the Christmas party represented the best day of the school year. Even if the partying didn’t start until late morning or – gasp! – early afternoon, we knew we weren’t going to do anything all day.
And we didn’t. Instead of practicing our multiplication tables or building our vocabulary, we listened to the sounds of the season and watched the clock. It’s a miracle we didn’t spontaneously combust. After all, we were getting cupcakes and presents and treat bags and/or stockings stuffed with walnuts, candy canes and oranges. If that weren’t enough to make us bounce off the walls, the jolly elf was also giving us a couple weeks off from school. Even thinking about it now makes me light headed.
Everybody was on their best behavior on Christmas party day. Nobody received a whipping with a wooden paddle. Nobody was sent to the office. Nobody had a care in the world.
Although grade school parties were the best, the fun didn’t stop when we moved to the high school. In either seventh or eighth grade, our class pitched in for pizza. Pizza, that is, topped with Canadian bacon. It was my first experience dining on international fare. I felt so worldly. For weeks I casually mentioned this life-changing event. We would be sitting around the parlor, debating if Santa had finished preparations at the North Pole, and I would say, “The North Pole. That’s, like, close to Canada, right? You know, Canadian bacon doesn’t taste anything like American bacon. We had Canadian bacon on our pizza at school. It was very Canadian-tasting.”
A few weeks ago, I considered bringing back school parties. I deliberated suggesting to my co-workers that we throw ourselves a work-day party. I thought we could pitch in for pizza. Somebody could stuff stockings with oranges and nuts and somebody else could bring cupcakes.
Then I remembered I was an adult and that Canadian bacon actually tastes a lot like American ham, so I had some more fudge for breakfast and wore my pjs all day.
This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.