Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Holiday "Spirit" My Opinion

Christmas is coming, Christmas is coming! My very favorite time of year. Samhain is past, and Yule is creeping up fast. Time to put up the pumpkins and skeletons and bats and other scary decorations for another year, and break out the Christmas stuff. Woohoo! Christmas trees, twinkling lights, images of Santa Claus and Father Christmas, ornaments, garland, and beautifully wrapped gifts. People are (usually) kinder this time of year - to everyone. It's something in the air - the Christmas Spirit! But what is the "Christmas Spirit"? Is it something caused by people just thinking that they need to be kinder during the season of giving? Or is it something more mystical? Is it an actual "spirit" or some sort of coherent "entity" that has the ability to affect the entire planet? Is there a spirit that powerful? I tend to think it just may be. Let's look at it...

Starting about the time Halloween/Samhain is over, the Christmas (and yes, I say Christmas - it's been "Christmas" in my world for 41 years, and I'm too old to change, and quite frankly, why should I? What difference does a name make, really? "A rose by any other name..." It's a holiday that almost everyone on the planet celebrates, that causes normally self-absorbed people to suddenly notice the world around them and feel a need to do something positive. Who cares what you call it - I just want to know how to make it last beyond December 25...) decorations start to appear in the stores. Any more, they're usually out BEFORE Halloween is done. I went to Wal-mart yesterday, and heard Christmas music for the first time this season! Again, Woohoo!

Once the stuff is in the stores, the "feeling" slowly begins to permeate the air. I think maybe the "Spirit" is in the physical "things." It makes sense... if you were a spirit that wanted to "affect" as many people as possible, what better way..? Everyone goes to the store sooner or later - even my storaphobic (is that even a word..?) Hunny! And the "stuff" isn't limited to stores, either. It's everywhere. By Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) you can't throw a rock and not hit something "Christmassy." Awesome, I say! So now we have a world full of "things" possibly inhabited by the "Christmas Spirit." Affecting everyone they come in contact with. That would explain why normally oblivious people are suddenly aware. Why all of a sudden misers become givers. Why stoics now feel a need to have their home looking Christmassy. And the more "stuff" one is exposed to, the more it affects them...

This theory then begs the question "If it is a Spirit or Entity of such magnitude, why doesn't it just infect everyone permanently?" Well, think about it. Can you imagine how much energy is required to have such an affect on almost everyone..? Does ANY entity have the ability to maintain something like that? My answer would be no, not indefinitely. That's why it is only this way once a year, for a month or two. The rest of the year is spent resting, recovering, and recharging, so it can be done again the next year. But it may be getting stronger... The cynics say it starts earlier every year due to greed. But what if it isn't greed? What if it is the "spirit" gaining strength, and thus the ability to affect us for longer periods? Is it really a bad thing that Christmas decorations come out earlier in the year than they did 30 years ago? Is it bad the people get into the "Holiday Spirit" at the beginning of November instead of the end? That people become more aware, and thus kinder, sooner? I don't see how that could POSSIBLY be you..?

I also think some are more easily affected - some like me, who don't "fight" it. Which in turn gives even more strength to the "Spirit." After all, the people who truly LOVE this time of year tend to be already aware, and therefore the "Spirit" doesn't have to exert energy on them. I have Christmas "things" in my home - and my workspace - all year round...  Although thinking on that, based on this theory, do you think I am  draining the energy, affecting people year-round..? Upon further thought, I'd have to say no. I'd say rather it's MY "Christmassy" energy infusing those things, hopefully having a similar effect on those who come in contact with them.

So there you have it - my personal theory about the "Holiday Spirit." From today forward, people will be more & more strongly affected by it. Each time you visit a store, or any location with decorations, pay you feel a little bit more compassionate? Not on the surface - on the surface you're liable to feel a bit frustrated and frazzled the closer we get to the Big Day. But inside, in the quiet place, don't you feel it? Compassion, kindness, empathy, a desire to help someone. Someone who truly needs help - and there are plenty out there. I make a point of doing my "good deeds" in ways many would never consider. I rarely give to any "charitable organization." I give to the young couple from Evansville, caught out of gas in the Camby Wal-mart parking lot at eleven o'clock at night. Trying to ask for assistance (which in itself takes courage) and being looked at by the "good Christian folk" with the "Jesus is my co-pilot" bumper sticker and the In God We Trust license plate like they are some kind of new bug species one wouldn't want to get too close to. I give to the young kids in the Speedway buying $2.38 worth of gas, with change. I give to the lady in the Wal-mart line trying to pay for her food with change. Granted, there isn't any tax deduction for these things, but since that's not what I am looking for, who cares? What there is, is people who will now (hopefully) at some point down the road, when they are able, do something similar for a stranger in need.

And that brings us back to the "Holiday Spirit" because isn't that what it brings about? A willingness to do something for someone in need, that will never gain one any acknowledgement outside of oneself? And as more people are willing and able to maintain that desire beyond the last two months of the year, the spirit is able to strengthen, and thus affect more people, more strongly, for longer periods of time...maybe one day, the "stuff" will never come down...

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