Ooh you're a holiday, every day, such a holiday
Now it's my turn to say, and I say you're a holiday
Have you ever had a holiday season where everything worked out perfectly, when everyone was so nice and considerate that you thought you were in another world?
You may then have asked, “Why can’t every day be a delightful holiday? Why can’t every season be a magical season?
Why The American Holiday Season Is Magical
The United States emerged after World War II as the greatest economic engine the world had ever seen. Europe didn’t catch up until the 1960s. Puritans seeking religious freedom in the New World had originally settled the nation.
They were instilled with an ethic of working hard and building things. Entrepreneurialism and individualism increasingly became an important value as the settlers felt that they only had to answer to their conscience and God.
From there, the United States grew and grew with European, African, Latin and Asian immigrants, many of whom came to get ahead and fulfill the American dream.
A fiercely competitive spirit emerged, as epitomized in New York City. Capitalism was religiously sanctioned and most Americans remained deeply suspicious of socialism.
The collective pressure was so great that America forged a very special season as a safety valve, a season toward the end of the year, as the vernal equinox approaches and fall turns into winter.
Drop the frantic pursuit of happiness at the cost of having a life and give way to others. “Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Men” is no longer laughed at during these months, and people spontaneously open up to each other and show their human side. Often class distinctions drop, and a common humanity is celebrated.
How the Holiday Season Came to Be
Given the ethnic and religious diversity of the United States from the earliest days, the holidays were chosen to appeal to everyone and honored with a universal spirit.
Halloween, a minor day in the Roman Catholic Church, eventually overshadowed All Saints Day on November 1st, and became a night to celebrate magic.
Thanksgiving was institutionalized in America to celebrate the family, drawing upon the experience of the Mayflower settlers in America who made it through the fierce winter through the gracious help of the Native Americans. They celebrated a harvest together as a single people.
Christmas eventually became more important than Easter. It held a dual significance of honoring the birth of Jesus Christ, as “Immanuel,” or God with us, as well as Saint Nicholas, the European bishop who gave gifts to children, who became the personification of the holiday.
While the gift giving became extremely commercialized, the original spirit somehow remained.
New Year’s Day was an important climax to the holiday season, as everyone entered the winter months with a fresh start and a whole new outlook on life.
While this whole pattern became highly complex and sophisticated, it has worked to keep Americans relatively sane, given how driven the culture tends to be.
As we approach Christmas, everything becomes softer and more beautiful; people are more relaxed and considerate of others. Even business slows down. People are more concerned about their relationships than their transactions.
Strangely enough, the season actually works, and is highly profitable, bringing in as much as 40% of the annual retail trade.
How to Make Every Day a Magic Holiday
You might ask yourself, “Are people so nice during the holiday season simply because they want to put up a phony front to forget just how rotten life really is?”
If you think about it, you will realize this is overly cynical. Actually, the reverse is true.
People often put up a phony front in their day-to-day interactions to protect themselves from getting hurt. They are convinced that they won’t be loved and accepted for whom they are if they risk opening up.
When the holiday season emerges, they get so caught up in the collective good will that they are swept up into celebrating life and making it a joy for other people.
Celebration is the whole point of life. Celebration comes from our innermost being.
Our being values are awakening, creating, playing and celebrating.
We start in youth by awakening and creating, and then learn to play in an adult sense and celebrate the very process of life.
Celebration is natural to who we are, and to get frantically caught up in business and studies and lose all perspective goes totally against who we are. It can only bring chronic unhappiness and misery.
While you don’t need an excuse to celebrate, you can find plenty of excuses if you exercise your imagination.
Everyone you know has a birthday. Why don’t you celebrate every one of them? The great religious traditions have dozens of holy days. Why not celebrate one of the other traditions? For example, Hanukah in Judaism, or Eid in Islam.
Hanukah comes close to Christmas, and celebrates the miraculous burning of the sacred temple lamp when the oil had all but run out. Eid brings an end to the annual month of fasting and prayer, and is celebrated in Muslim homes with great joy. You might find people of other faiths thrilled that you would like to honor their holidays with them.
Just as the holiday season ends the year, so the evening the day, the weekend the week and the new moon the emergence of a new month.
Related article: Life as Art, Art as Life
Why Not Play Master of Ceremonies and Create Magical Experiences?
Imagine that the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences asked you to be the M.C. for this year. What would your response be?
You might want to buy a few joke books and practice with friends. You would have your hair specially cut and your nails manicured. You would even go out and rent or buy a tuxedo or an evening gown.
What if you created your own award ceremony, or threw a party?
You could honor people in the news or in your life. For example, John Glenn, the astronaut who helped take humanity into space, just passed away.
Why not put together an event celebrating space exploration, and all the brave men and women who made it possible for us to send a rocket outside the solar system? Money need not be an object. If you throw a party, there is no reason you can’t make it pot luck.
The whole point is to give up waiting for others to celebrate something... anything.
Why don’t you take the initiative? Often, you just need to make a suggestion, and others will jump at the idea, whether an office party, a special day at school or festive meeting at your club, conference or association. It isn’t up to the person next to you.
IT’S UP TO YOU!
Ten Specific Ways You Can Make Today Magical
1. List ten things for which you can be grateful.
2. Go to a gift shop and review the card section for any ideas on special days and occasions, including Valentine’s and Saint Patrick’s Day.
3. Create a custom greeting card for friend or lover on your computer.
4. Plan a get away once a month with your spouse or friend for a special weekend together.
5. Attend a live music or theatrical concert.
6. Dress up in your Sunday best and go downtown to an art museum or gallery. Enjoy the opulence of upscale life.
7. Take out an old musical instrument you haven’t touched in years or recall a special song you loved as a youth and share it with friends and family.
8. Fall in love all over again…with the one you are with, or anyone who truly opens your heart.
9. Watch an inspiring film that synchs with the season, such as Zeffarelli’s Romeo and Juliet for Valentine’s Day.
10. Bring a flower home, or give it to someone special. Smell and delight in its fragrance and beauty.
You can make any day magical by remembering that you are divine, and treating everyone else as the god or goddess that they truly are!