It’s the time of year when almost everyone wants to feel not just good, but full of cheer.
I don’t mean the kind of cheer that is in the punch bowl at the company party, rather the spirit of the season. What is it that gives you that spark?
For me, the spirit of the season is entwined in all sorts of classic traditions and stories. I am a fan of them all.
Yes, I am that annoyingly cheery person, who loves The Grinch (the animated one is still my fave), A Christmas Carol and of course It’s A Wonderful Life. On Sunday, I’m getting my picture taken with Santa.
When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be the kind of adult who still believed. Like the editor who wrote to Virginia to explain how Santa lives even in a modern world or the boy in The Polar Express who still hears the bell beyond childhood, I am a keeper of the faith.
I suppose many of you will say, “Bah, humbug”, just as Scrooge did all those years ago. I don’t mind. If you are comfortable with your humbugs, then I wish you well. I’ll just be over here, baking and decorating shortbread to share and wrapping up a few things to give others a taste of the magic.
Others will say that stuff is all for the kids. Who said we had to deprive ourselves of a chance to be delighted and amazed once we got older? We grow out of clothes, but we don’t have to grow out of having a sense of wonder. I, for one, plan on keeping mine until my very last days.
There has long been the lament that the positivity which surfaces during the holiday season would be greatly enjoyed at other times in the year. Unfortunately, it seems that only the perfect storm of twinkling lights, decorations, melodic upbeat tunes, and plenty of treats will create such a dynamic.
In a world full of change, even a few weeks of cheer seems challenging. Perhaps people’s desire to search for something new and different is part of why many eschew old traditions and methods. The constant debates about what is sustainable or appropriate sometimes mean the essence of doing something kind or generous is lost in the kerfuffle.
I am someone who was born on the cusp – right between the baby boomers and Gen X. I remember “the good old days,” hearing the Christmas carols that Bing Crosby and Elvis sang right alongside “current” hits from The Jackson 5 and The Carpenters. Cocktail weinies and cheese balls were the avant-garde party fare when I was growing up.
I still make the same treats I had as a kid, from the recipes passed down to me by my mom. I have ornaments for the tree going back to my first Christmas on my own. I don’t have the energy for putting up tinsel every year, but I will be doing it this year.
All this does not mean I’m not open to new ideas. I have friends who celebrate Festivus, which I think is fantastic. The true meaning of the season for me is about gathering with loved ones, sharing with them and giving back to the community. The magic is in the people, not the things.
Believing goes hand in hand with trusting. Virginia knew that when she wrote her letter. She said, “Papa says, if you see it in The Sun, it is true. Tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?” She trusted her papa, and she trusted the editor to tell her the truth.
Maybe that is where we need to do some work. If we find a way to trust people, we can believe when someone gives us an answer like this, as Francis Church did in 1897:
“You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
“No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”
I do believe that some things can stand the test of time. So, here’s to the holidays, whichever one you celebrate.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.