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It’s that time of year again. It’s the time of year when I usually repeat the mantra, “I love Christmas” over and over to the disbelief of my coworkers and anyone close enough to me to hear my nearly constant negative commentary throughout most of the year.

Sometimes, feeling that spirit comes with no effort at all. Other years, like this one, I find myself having to work at it a bit. Maybe it’s because the sky is a bit grayer. Maybe it’s because the winds are a tad more frigid. Maybe it’s because my job is tougher. Maybe it’s because I’m not dancing enough. Regardless of the reason, this year around I’m starting the season by questioning it.

Let’s start with… Should I try to have Christmas spirit? I completely believe that I should do whatever makes me as happy as possible for as long as possible so long as that action has no lasting detriment to my property, my person, or the people who matter to me. Considering that improving and increasing my property, improving my person, and helping the people who matter to me to do the same all makes me happy, this philosophy generally garners me some nice results. When I do feel that joy of the Christmas season, I feel happy. I share that happiness with those around me and nothing bad happens because of it. So…. YES.

Then, why just Christmas spirit? Why not be happy all the time? Frankly, Life is hard.

All of the time, whether you can tell or not, entropy is increasing and using energy to resist that breaks us all down almost as much as the chaos itself does. It’s obvious in the way our bread goes stale and the way our hair turns gray. It’s not as obvious, but it’s there in the way it’s easier to leave our face flat than to wear a smile. It’s there in the way we don’t want to spend time or expend effort in changing our directions, so we go in straight lines. Those straight lines help us to do our errands, but keep us from exploring, discovering, relaxing, and having fun. Those straight lines guide us to drive aggressively or bump into other walkers or act like pushy, demanding, unreasonable people with apparent entitlement delusions. It’s easier to be a jerk than to be happy. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to be happy anyway, I’m just pointing out that it’s hard.

Once a year, I find that no matter how strange I might appear, people become a bit more tolerant of my zig zag lines. I find that my smiles get more smiles in return, and that makes the investment of energy feel worthwhile. My bread still goes stale, but then I just make eggnog french toast! My point now is that it’s easier to act like a happy person when people around me are either encouraging me, or at least willing to accept, “It’s Christmas” as a reasonable excuse. The window of opportunity doesn’t last long; it’s usually just from right after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. So, Christmas Spirit fits the bill and I grab the opportunity to be just a little bit happier.

Last question for now: if this is my opportunity for grabbing that happy feeling, but I’m having difficulty taking advantage of it, then what can I do to make it easier? After some contemplation, I’ve decided that writing about Christmas and what it means to me might catalyze that enjoyment of the Holiday season that I haven’t quite realized yet. Here it is, my first installment at this project, and sure enough I am feeling some positivity already.

I am ambitious, but not foolish. I’m going to attempt to put up a blog a day for each day until Christmas, but I won’t make any promises I can’t keep. I hope my friends enjoy reading them, because I plan to enjoy writing them. Have some happiness, on me, and let’s start having a Merry Christmas!

About Paul Roth

A vegetarian, agnostic, lindy-hopping, dog-loving tv-watcher who likes to read his own words.
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