It seems like I have been talking a lot about the “Christmas Spirit” this month. It comes honestly. December is full of stories that discuss this concept. In fact, one of my favorite movies, “Elf,” discusses the idea of Santa’s sleigh losing power due to a lack of Christmas spirit. But, what does that even mean? And why is it only in Christmas stories?
I tried to think of the stories and movies I have read regarding Christmas. Regardless of whether they are about visiting family, getting the newest toy, protecting the house from thieves, revisiting past and present and future actions, or wandering the streets of NY for the first time, they all have the same theme: selflessness. So, maybe the “spirit of Christmas” is a lack of selfish thinking. It is a time when we are supposed to put other’s wishes above our own. Don’t people say the season is about giving and not receiving? Okay, now that we’ve defined it, let’s move on to my next question….why is it predominantly only in Christmas stories?
I found a quote along these lines by Bob Hope that was too big for my Twitter account: “My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” I was marveling at the television shows I’ve been watching lately. Most of them have love triangles with characters changing who they say “I love you” to almost every season…if not more than once in a season. I also find my books behave in a similarly selfish fashion. They are about people attacking their own goals and putting their own needs above their own. Just stop and think of books you read this year and I’m sure you can think of more than one that fit this description.
So why do we have to do a “Christmas” story to discuss this?…or a Hallmark movie, I suppose. Don’t get me wrong, I can name quite a few where characters think of others before themselves…even to a fault. I guess my disappointment is the exchange between these stories and those that go for edgy in exchange of plot. So, my desire for 2014 is to find more books that showcase the best aspects of human nature. The world is a rotten place, but there is a lot of good in it still. I’m tired of doomsday reporting and arguing. I want my books to make me love life again in 2014.
Finally, I leave you with a quote from Maya Angelou…and yes, I know it is a stretch to say it was related to this post, but I love it way too much not to share: “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
Less than a week left till Christmas. Are you ready??