He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith
Christmas is my most favourite time of the year and this year, as I write my 173rd blog posting of 2011, I am taking the time to pause and reflect on just why I love Christmas.
The obvious reason why most people like Christmas is the opportunity to be with family, which for me is very important. This year I was able to spend time with my eldest daughter and her husband in San Francisco and also spend an even longer amount of time with my youngest daughter at our home in France. In fact, right this moment as I am writing this blog at my dining room table, Stephanie is practicing her violin (part of her 2 hours a day) and learning the Mendelssohn concerto in E minor.
Everyone also talks about the spiritual significance of the Christmas season and how it reminds us of what is really important in this short life of ours. The significance of peace on earth, the hope for health and happiness for all, the reminder that there is a force greater than all of us and a set of human ideals and behaviours that should be our daily guide through life.
I do like these things about the Christmas season, but for me, the real reason I love this time of year is that everyone does their best to be nice. The world just tends to get a little nicer. People in restaurants and shops end their transactions with, “and have a Merry Christmas”. And the smiles are genuine. People in the City of London dust off their manners this time of year and open doors for others, smile more, donate to the Salvation Army, stop and listen to the buskers playing music in the underground. Men even give up their seats to elderly women on the tube! It’s the fact that people go out of their way to be nice that makes Christmas extra special for me.
Here’s a thought. What if we practiced being nice to others all year-long? What if young people on the subway gave their seat to the elderly, opened doors for others, smiled more, said the three magic words more often: Please, and Thank You. I can just imagine how this “spirit of nice” would transform my morning underground experience, or the drive to work on the freeways. We could replace road rage with smiles and taking turns. The one thing I admire most about London cabbies is their road etiquette. They are trained to deliver Christmas behaviour all year-long. A far cry from the normal behaviour of New York taxi drivers.
As I look around my world in the 21st Century and watch how societies behave I must say I am appalled at the “in your face” attitude that is so characteristic of today’s news, television programs. How children behave towards their elders, their teachers, even their parents. We have created a “me first – you last” culture that is not much fun or inspiring. To me, the loss of “nice” as a value is one of the biggest changes I have witnessed in society during my 63 years.
So, I am going to try an experiment in 2012. I am going to carry “Christmas behavior” with me all year-long. I will give up my seat to the elderly on the bus and subway. I will say thank you and please after every transaction. I will smile more at others. I will let others go first and open doors for others. I might stop short of putting my coat over a puddle to let others pass, but you get the picture. And I wonder what it would be like if everyone practiced “Christmas nice” throughout 2012, and really meant it!
I hope we meet in 2012. I look forward to interacting with you with my spirit of Christmas. Maybe “nice” will catch on. The world could certainly use it.
Tight Lines . . .
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