“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth!” — Charles Dickens
And so this is Christmas … and what have you done?
Or should I say, It’s the holiday season .. with the whoop-de-do and hickory dock.
It’s that special time of year when wonder and magic are at their best.
I was trying to figure out, yet again, where the holiday spirit comes from.
Interestingly, there have been some experiments in the past where researchers tried to find out exactly where in your brain, the holiday spirit shows up.
The net of it is that the neural network in your brain lights up when you see images that have meaning for you.
So I sent a few friends a collage of holiday images this morning.
That’s one way to beat Bah Humbug Syndrome.
Rekindle Your Holiday Spirit by Waltzing Down Memory Lane
Another way to beat Bah Humbug Syndrome is to rekindle feelings, by reflecting on some of your favorite holiday memories of years gone past.
Here are some of the things that remind me of the Holiday Spirit and help me remember the magic and wonder:
I remember going to bed, wishing for a white Christmas and waking up in a winter wonderland
I remember going to my grandparents on Christmas Eve, surrounded with cousins
I remember visiting our family’s best friend’s house every Christmas Eve.
I remember nobody wanted to get poor Ralphie a Red Ryder BB gun because, they told him, “you’ll shoot your eye out.”
I remember my parents’ office holiday parties and seeing people laugh fully and with twinkles in their eyes.
I remember thinking Old Man Patter was such a jerk.
I remember when the little doe told Rudolph he was cute and he suddenly learned how to fly.
I remember, “Look at what he can do,” and the Abominable snowman put the star on the top of the tree.
I remember sitting on Santa’s lap and wondering how’s he going to remember all this if I don’t see him writing it down (or why do I need to tell him again, since I already sent him my list.)
I remember going around the neighborhood at my Aunt’s house singing Christmas carols with my cousins (really badly, but the neighbors were kind)
I remember the first time I saw a house that went way too far with Christmas lights … and it was awesome!
I remember when Tiny Tim said, “God bless us, everyone.”
I remember when Grandma got run over by a reindeer.
I remember people I thought were supposed to be mean, acting a little kinder, a little happier, and even a little bit jollier.
I remember the first time I saw my Aunt and Uncle’s Christmas tree and it was filled with the Wizard of Oz and fun stuff, and I remember thinking I didn’t know trees could have fun stuff.
I remember when George Bailey gets bailed out by the townspeople who donate more than enough money to cover the loss, and George becomes “the richest man in town” (and the angel gets his wings).
I remember when I got my first real bike and wondering how the heck Santa got it down the Chimney.
I remember playing Chopsticks, the theme to Jaws, some Jingle Bells, and other two-finger classics on my grandmother’s baby grand piano with my sister.
I remember the two grumpy old men from the balcony on the Muppet Show appear as ghosts in chains.
I remember thinking, why doesn’t the judge believe that old guy is Santa, just look at him.
I remember the eggnog tasting good, but thinking it was gross – why would we drink eggs?
I remember having too much mimosa at my friend’s amazing Christmas brunch.
I remember when Charlie Brown put the ornament on the tree and it bent over, but then the whole gang joined and fixed it up, and it wasn’t such a bad tree after all.
I remember when Emmett’s friend says, “We’re not birds, we’re a jugband.”
I remember the singing bird ornament at the top of our Christmas tree that drove my mother nuts.
I remember seeing Heat Miser and Snow Miser for the first-time and thinking, I know people that look like that.
I remember putting an old sick hat on my fresh made snowman and wondering if Frosty was just a sham (there must not have been some magic in that old sick hat I found.)
I remember when the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day.
I remember seeing the Nutcracker live and wondering what’s will all the giant rats.
I remember making some very special wishes that I hoped, with the magic of Christmas, would come true.
Your Holiday Spirit is Inside You, If You Dig Deep Enough
I remember all these little holiday vignettes.
But mostly, I remember driving around everywhere looking for the holiday spirit, and then finding it in the last place I looked … inside.
If you’re worried about finding your Holiday Spirit, take the pressure off, and just let it go. The other thing to remember is the Scrooge Pattern – it can happen overnight.
So put on that ugly Christmas sweater and own your holiday spirit.
And if you want to amplify your Holiday Spirit, the best way to amplify your feelings is to remember what the Buddy the Elf taught us:
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”
Of course, you can always say “Bah, Humbug!”, but that choice is yours and won’t do you or anybody you know a lick of good.
Happy holidays to you and yours,