I hope all is going well for you, that the holiday season is embracing you with a special feeling of warmth for today and optimism for the future.
We sure get inundated with images of how the season is supposed to be. And if that makes people get into the season by doing random acts of kindness just for the sake of it, let's have more of that! But the gap between the Imagery and the difficulty of Reality also make the holiday season a time of extreme depression for too many of us. That can be from economic hardship. It is hard to receive the benefits of giving...when there isn't much sugar plum fairy dust left after giving to the bills.
This time is also difficult on those who spend it far from home (sometimes we call them "Holiday Orphans"). During the holiday season, that can mean more than geography. That means being separated from family, friends, and associated memories. Music certainly brings that point home, doesn't it? After all, music reminds us of times and people we went though those times with. Joni Mitchell's "River" used to make me badly miss friends in California I had worked with. In-jokes on some of the LeeVees Hannukah Rocks album make me feel like I am in my parents' living room with the rest of the family--even if they are 3,500 miles away. No doubt you have your own favorites that exert a poweful pull this time of year.
Then there are people who invite the "Holiday Orphans" in. They may be friends. They may be people who have a local business that practically acts as a community gathering place. They are anyone who says, "we know (or know of) of a number of people who are far from home for the Holidays...let's have them over." You feel an extra pang when images of people in Holiday activity are all around, while you are not fitting into the loop. For the "Holiday Orphan," getting invited to a dinner is about far more than a meal. It's getting to participate in that whole sense of welcoming.
Now that is the Holiday Spirit.
A toast to you, the Holiday Hosts, who have made the season better for others
(and to those who have done that in the past for this wanderer...).
Happy Hannukah, Good Solstice, Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays to you all.
- Perry Persoff