The end of December is the time when people seem more open-hearted and kind. Our celebration of Christmas and the numerous other December holidays, might account for much of this positivity.
In the Northern Hemisphere, December coincides with wintertime–a time when people and creatures seek shelter from harsh elements. We need to get along with others in order to avoid exile to the whims of Mother Nature. I’m guessing these needs are also true in the Southern Hemisphere during June. This is just a thought that occurred while pondering the concept of togetherness.
In the mid 1970s, at the ages of 24 and 25, times were very harsh and uncertain for me. I was learning the lessons my grandparents were taught during the Great Depression. I was desperate for work. Most of my energy went towards shelter from the elements and keeping my stomach silent. I rented half of a yellow-painted World War Two era Quonset building that was expensive to heat. I mostly scrounged for food.
It was in the middle of a very severe cold snap that I became acquainted with my neighbors. The Salzwedels were transplants to Nebraska from New York City. They identified themselves as “very secular Jews”. The Salzwedels had noticed that I was alone and probably lonely so they decided to invite me to their half of the neighboring Quonset building for the first day of Chanukah. I’ll always remember their selfless concern about me and their kind, neighborly generosity.
Even though December of 1977 was a time of scarcity, the Salzwedels displayed the true meanings of the holiday season. This is one reason why the phrase, “Happy Holidays” feels warm and genuine to me. That along with “Seasons Greetings” are all inclusive. When I say or write them, I think of all the billions of people on Earth. When I express “Merry Christmas” I hope my Christian friends have a happy holiday, too.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the actress, comedian, writer, Amy Sedaris. “I love theatrical props: a cup filled with solid fake tea, say, or a collection of fake food, including a rubber turkey, which during the holidays, I wrap in tinfoil so it appears to have just come out of the oven.”