Monday, December 21, 2009

5 Days to Christmas

Scrooge might smile when he hears what I have to say.

Why is there such an abundance of happiness during the Christmas season? Why do people suddenly turn on their charm and put on their best possible behaviour? Why is everyone so good this season?

Go anywhere, and all you see are smiling faces whenever the word “Christmas” pops up in conversation. Go to a mall, and you see children giggling and squealing with joy when they see Santa Claus. Go to parties, and you see everyone either a little tipsy or plain delirious after exchanging presents. Go to restaurants or concerts or other public events, and there’s a palpable sense of camaraderie in the air as if bosom buddies have got together after a long, long time.

Or try switching on any of the TV channels, and the Christmas specials are all about mushy stuff like love, family and music. Or it is about hardened souls melting after a little child gives them a Christmas present. Or it is about singles finding true love after a lifetime of waiting for some frog to turn into royalty. Or it is about news anchors smiling and showing a little more enthusiasm when it comes to human interest stories.

Go anywhere in the world, and Christmas immediately makes people turn to their good side, and if that’s not enough, it makes them want to spread this feeling of goodness all around.

Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if I dislike this excessive goodness that one sees this season. I think it’s great that people are able to shed their normal cynicism and grouchy side, and behave more kindly with friends and strangers alike. It’s a real pleasure for humanity to be more amiable, decent and to walk around as if a halo was a natural part of their body.

The trouble is, this all-smiling, all-friendly, all-generous side rarely lasts beyond the season and gradually disappears into thin air after the New Year. Almost like a comet: shines for a while and soon disappears into the back alleys only to return later.

The thing is, this type of ‘cheerfulness’ seems to be a seasonal trait and hasn’t managed to be second nature. It would make the world a lot less stressful and an enjoyable place to live in. And no, I’m not suggesting that everyone wears some sort of a ‘perma-grin,’ smile all the time, and behave like they were mini-Santa Claus or something. The world would be an absolutely terrifying place if that were the case.

All I’m saying is, if it’s possible to be nice (at least, superficially) for a month or so, then, what’s the big deal behind the general nastiness, silly one-upmanship, bitchiness and backstabbing that punctuates life in general? Why isn’t it possible for cheerfulness, generosity and goodness to be a habit instead of being so occasional? I mean, why?

Maybe what we see this month is only a possibility of goodness that some tragic flaw within prevents from expressing itself more fully. Maybe the virus of hamartia is strongly ingrained after all, and all we can do is simply rise above the surface for a month or so, and gasp for air like the way flying fish do.

Whatever it is, all I can say is, enjoy it while it lasts, and if it’s not possible, then I can only repeat what Scrooge would say, Bah humbug!!!

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