I’m one of “those people.” I travel with the family every year on Thanksgiving and the day after I am playing Christmas music in the car. The kids, who have been dealing with this for over 15 years, roll their eyes but end up singing along.
I race home to put up the Christmas lights. I agonize over the placement of lights on the tree (which is smaller than I’d like this year).
As I run in the mornings from Thanksgiving through Christmas I play one of three Christmas song playlists on my iPod.
Over the top?
Maybe, but I see Christmas, and the spirit of the season, as one of the best things about humanity.
Yes, there are presents. There is commercialization. That’s a choice. People can do what they want. But the spirit of the season is unqualified giving. We look around and choose to provide for those among us that are perhaps in need, or maybe they are special to us.
The New York Times runs the Neediest Cases Fund. We see countless angel trees. We cherish the time we have with loved ones. All of this falls into the category of making the world bigger through connections that don’t just happen, we work to create them.
By providing for a person we’ve never met, we give them a chance to enjoy a gift they would not have had. We give ourselves the joy of being able to make that happen. The gift itself probably would have meant very little to us, but the recipient is (hopefully) thrilled.
Making the effort to see relatives, particularly those who cannot easily travel, also provides joy. So we drive an hour, or two, or ten. So what? We reconnect with those who are perhaps distant but still very meaningful on our family tree. It makes the world bigger…and we work to make that happen.
What could be better than knowing you had a hand in growing the prosperity and joy on the planet, even in a small way?
What could be better than making the conscious choice to reach out to another person and lift them up?
These are the individual choices and acts that combine to create the positive momentum that can carry us forward. There is no government, no organization, no group that can take the place of ordinary people specifically reaching out to enrich the lives of others while asking for nothing in return.
That is the Christmas spirit, and it is what we wish for all of you. May you have the joy of extending and the pleasure of receiving such gifts this season.