Latest Forum Posts:


HomeMusings Stories How to Have a Merry Christmas (or any holiday).

How to Have a Merry Christmas (or any holiday).

Tags: legos, family

Don’t get upset at imperfection.

I discovered the secret to having a Merry Christmas long ago. It was Christmas Eve 1993. I stopped by my brother Gene’s home to drop off the presents I had gotten for my nephews, John and Nic. John was 9 years old and Nic was 7 years old. It was about 7 pm and I was invited to go to Midnight Mass. I enjoyed the time before mass playing with my nephews. 

I had just been dumped by my long term girlfriend. The way she dumped me, the actual dumping took from early October to early December when I realized she had been cheating on me for months. She had given me a bullshit reason for the break-up but she kept making dates to see me and never being where she said she would be. It was when I finally caught her with the new boyfriend (he ran fairly fast and left her to deal with me alone when he saw me, what a gentleman, that is when I finally put together what had really happened and why I was dumped.) I didn’t really want to spend Christmas Eve alone in my apartment. I was 27 years old and was still getting over being dumped. Playing with my nephews really helped me keep the Leviathan at bay. (Leviathan is how I refer to the disease generated depression that has plagued me all of my life.)

We went to mass and as usual, the Midnight Christmas Eve Mass was packed. When we returned to my brother’s apartment my nephews were allowed to open their presents. My nephews had gotten a medieval castle LEGO set. I was looking at it, somewhat green with envy, wondering if I could kind of push a John and Nic to the side and say, "Here let me show you how to put these together.” The following thought was, "Those are their toys, let them play, don’t be a big baby.”

A few moments later John came to me and asked if I could put the LEGO set together for them. On the outside, I am keeping my cool and say sure, I could do that. On the inside, I am jumping around like a Capuchin Monkey that has been given a large bowl of fresh fruit. I sat down and opened the LEGO box. There were several bags of pieces all nice and labeled. I set the bags on the floor and thought a beer would really help lubricate the building process, generally, I prefer a gin and tonic but a beer is good. 

I went to the kitchen, got a can of beer from the refrigerator, cracked it, and took a sip. When I returned to the living room, Nic had opened all of the bags of LEGO pieces and mixed them together. He looked at me with great happiness on his face and said, “Look, Uncle Bob, I helped you!”

I just looked at Nic and said, “Why thank you Nic.” And sat and started the building process. I didn’t get done until 3 am and I got to my apartment at 4 am and I had to be up at about 10 am to be at my parent’s home for Christmas dinner. 

Now, how did this help my figure out how to have a Merry Christmas? Nic gave me such a happy smile when he thought he helped, couldn’t take that away from him, so I just kept my mouth shut. He didn’t really do anything wrong, I was playing with a toy after all, and I still had just as much fun. So I learned why get upset over a minor imperfection? Nothing is ever going to be perfect so don’t worry if your holiday isn’t perfect. 


Now years, later when Nic was dealing with two boys about the same age spread as Nic and John, one of the boys did the exact same thing to him. Nic was thinking, “Why does this feel so familiar?” Suddenly he remembers, “OH MY GOD, I DID THE EXACT SAME THING TO UNCLE BOB!” So he reacted the same way I did. In fact, he told me when he was with the boys and needed to be an ADULT, he would think about how I handled things with John and him because he had no bad memories of me. 

I thought it was a bit scary that I was the good example of adulthood but I was also flattered. When I was a kid I remembered how my brothers would bully and tease me and how I hated it. I always thought to myself how I would never do any of these things to others. I look back on my life and I see mistakes that I made where I did bully somebody and I regret these moments with all of my heart. I think they are few and far between but I can’t really judge myself. 

But not teasing my nephews has paid off. I found out from Nic and a John that I was their favorite uncle and part of why they loved visiting Nana and Grandpa’s house was because I was there(until I moved out but Nic’s reaction is another story). 

Take my word for it, small things matter.




This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

To link to this story from your site - please use the following code:

<a href=""> How to Have a Merry Christmas (or any holiday). </a>

Comments (5)

Tell us why

Please tell us why you think this story should be removed.