EDITORIAL — Put the happy back in “happy holidays”

An editorial

I read the news more often than daily — both local news and national headlines. (Shocking that the editor reads the news, I know.)

National headlines particularly have offered little in the way of good news. In the past 30 days, there have been two mass shootings (one at a church in Texas, and the other just last week involving several shots fired and one child injured at an elementary school in California). In Florida, they’re searching for what they believe may be a serial killer.

This information — the national headlines — is constantly juxtaposed with my everyday life. I’m left wondering if and when something so tragic will happen to my loved ones or myself.

It’s not just violence that bothers me about national headlines either. Politics are volatile today. We’re becoming a divided nation more and more each day. It’s not getting better — it’s getting worse, with everybody digging in their heels.

Families are literally being torn apart by the same divisions. Go look on Facebook, and it’s almost guaranteed you’ll see two people who are related to each other arguing about some political post — name-calling, blaming, swearing.

I’m thinking about this as I move into my favorite time of the year.

It’s the holiday season. Families soon will come together.

On Thanksgiving and the following religious holidays, many of us will gather around the same table to enjoy the same meal. Some one or several people will have spent hours to prepare each meal.

In front of stores, we’ll drop pocket change into red buckets to support strangers.

I will personally be humming, singing and enjoying every note of the Christmas music beginning on Thanksgiving Day (if I can wait that long) and continuing through until I go to bed on Christmas Day.

This, traditionally, is the time of year when everyone tries to be a bit nicer to one another — to family and strangers alike. We buy presents. We go out of our way to spend time together. Even at work, there are usually some sorts of gifts and often a potlock or maybe even a company dinner.

This year, I’m hoping we — collectively — can take the time to put our differences aside. Ideally, it would be great if we could put them aside and work together forever, but I’ll settle for just the holiday season.

It’s pretty much just one month.

Come off the soapbox. Dismount the high horse. See if you — you personally — can be pleasant for the next month. That’s really all it is, is one month we get each year when the collective mood naturally becomes more pleasant.

It might mean forgiving. It might mean letting go of control, or letting go of being right. It might mean you have to keep some thoughts and comments to yourself. It might mean you have to embrace selective hearing and ignore things that would otherwise upset you.

I’m not asking us to give up anything that we can’t have back. It’s just one month, and after that month we can get back to our divided selves. But just one month would be so nice. Can you imagine it? It’s like John Lennon sang, “It’s easy if you try.”

A good place to start is today — Thanksgiving Day.

Take a look around, right now, and find just one thing for which you’re thankful.

Maybe you have many things and it’s easy. Maybe you’re reading this while eating a community meal prepared by volunteers and that meal is the only thing you feel is really deserving of thanks. Whatever your situation may be, find one thing. Get some positivity going.

Now hold onto that feeling — really cherish it — for a month. When you fall back into judgmental thoughts and division, remember the feeling of being thankful and step back.

We really can do this. Let’s.

From The Vidette, I wish you and yours happy holidays, with an emphasis on the happy.