By the first of December, it’s finally justified to utter the most festive of maxims: Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas! Whatever your faith, there is a sense of celebration in this season that is inescapable. And why would you want to avoid it in the first place? Wherever you go, trees are being hoisted up and liberally decorated, twinkle lights start to appear overnight on neighboring houses and apartments, and “Last Christmas” by Mariah Carey begins its hostile takeover of every department store in America. Tis the season to be jolly, so don’t stop yourself when you feel the urge to make a snow angel even though you’re fifty-five and haven’t done one in four decades. The most important element of this season is the time taken to appreciate whomever you consider to be your family. Put some real effort in giving your family good gifts this year. Have you ever found it odd that when we gather together to exchange gifts, we are often the most excited for the gifts we are going to give? Ponder how rewarding giving can be, and then put that to the test by giving to someone who has little chance of giving back to you! This is just one way to re-plant love, peace, and joy in the hearts of others. So brew up some of your favorite Christmas mead, gather around the hearth, and look for ways to provide for others.
Take some advice from the Night Sky and stay full of wonder!
A joyful life is all about perspective. When you look up into the sky, do you merely see a spatter of impersonal gaseous masses, or a million little bright gifts of beauty? To fully appreciate the beauty of the season, you may need a perspective shift. Instead of getting bogged down with the arguments that seem to inevitably happen around family, or stress from life’s curve-balls, allow yourself to sit in wonder. How incredible is it that a large portion of the world celebrates love, joy, giving, and re-planting these things in the hearts of others at the same time? In this day and age, that is something wonderful.
Be like a Tree and sink your roots deep into the earth!
And why not be like the tree that stays green all year long? The bristlecone pine (pinus longaeva) is one of the oldest evergreens in the world. These trees’ leaves, or needles, stay on the tree for decades. Their gnarled appearance is a signifier for how long these ancient trees have sunk their roots deep into the earth. Even in the harshest climates and the coldest weather, evergreens stay true to their colors. As the seasons change, as people come in and out of your life, as family comes to visit, as your lips get chapped and the sun hasn’t been out in days, keep delving deep to find your true nature. In the irreplaceable words of S.E. Hinton from her classic, The Outsiders, “Stay gold Pony-Boy.”
Be a Jolly Snowman (or woman)!
There really is no replacement for a kind and joyful temperament. Imagine a person in your life whom you just love to be around. This person is most likely a joyful, kind individual. Good humor is a gift for those around you. There are many times when this person doesn’t feel like laughing or paying that well-timed compliment, but they keep their cool. They do these things because they knew that it would boost the morale of the people around them. You can do this, too! A kind word and smile are sometimes the best gifts you can give to another.