I was thinking the other day about how different we are around the holidays. We let things go that would normally trouble us and are kinder and more tolerant. It’s like we are choosing to be happier, not letting the little things bother us.
Maybe if we can figure out why we allow the holiday spirit to overtake us, we may be able to take those pieces and implement them to make the entire year more beautiful.
So let’s look at few of the biggies!
What allows us to laugh at those silly animated toys purchased for the kids during the holidays? You know the ones that we bought without thinking of the endless flashing lights and music or the dog that flips over again and again until the battery finally dies? The rest of the year it would be enough to make us want to toss it out of the car window while driving on the expressway. Somehow they remain safely in our homes, lovingly packed away year after year.
Why do we slice up the fruitcake Aunt Ida sent us yet again, placing it on platter with the rest of the treats? If it was any other time of year that we received a dried out cake with rubbery fruit pieces we would have simply dumped the entire container in the trash without a second thought. But somehow at the holidays we realize how nice it was of her to think of us and throwing it out just doesn’t seem right.
What makes us search endlessly for a parking place at the mall to get the one thing on our child’s Christmas list that is not available anywhere else, when you would rather have a root canal than go to the mall? Courageously we brave the parking lot, fearlessly risk the escalator with the huge package in tow and then drag it through the entire mall with our only motive being to make someone we love happy.
Why do we stay up late to make Grandma’s special cookies knowing it takes hours to prepare but mere minutes for the relatives who “don’t ever bake” to gobble them up? But we still bake them every year, frosting them one by one the way that Grandma did.
We spend countless hours wrapping gifts, battling odd size boxes and tape that sticks to everything but the paper to create beautiful packages, knowing it is merely an impediment to the really important stuff that lies inside? But we love how pretty they look under the tree and that is reason enough to make the effort.
We put up trees whose needles we will still find as they pierce the bottom of our foot well into the summer and pick up a poinsettia every year knowing full well that we will be riddled with guilt in July when we have to finally throw it out because we didn’t have the heart to stop watering it and the darn thing would not die on its own!
We tolerate relatives who make unflattering remarks while oblivious to the fact that we can hear everything they are saying about us and still love our friends who feel the need to remind us about that one silly thing we did many years ago and we wish they would just forget about.
We appreciate gifts that we have no practical use for and have absolutely no idea why someone would have chosen them for us and are gratefully amused when we don’t even know what it is we have been given or what in the world we should do with it.
We do all these things with joy, love, compassion and patience and still remain sane enough to want to do it all again and again, year after year.
So what can we do to bring these same qualities to our lives every day? What magic will allow us to forgive and forget, to love without restrictions and celebrate with joyful abandon and remain in the spirit long after the holiday?
Can we really expect to keep this amazing feeling with us all year long?
Yes, I know that we can! It is a choice to be amused at the noisy toy instead of become annoyed, it is a choice to appreciate a fruitcake we will never eat and it is worth the risk of a mall incident for us to provide joy to someone we love, these are all things we can do all year.
It is a choice to be true to ourselves and it seems to me that during the holidays our choices are based more upon what we choose to do while not allowing ourselves to be deterred by others.
So that is the answer! We must remain aware of our choices and make choices each and every day based solely upon what we want to do, listening to our hearts and not our minds and certainly not waiting for a holiday spirit to spur us on.
It is ultimately what we want our life to be about and who we truly are and it all begins as a choice.
I believe our choice to keep the spirit all year is much like that beautiful gift wrapped under the tree. Although the wrapping is not part of the gift we receive, like family and friends or being loved and cared for, the effort we put into making the choice to keep the spirit alive all year certainly makes our lives more beautiful every day!