What Is The Holiday Spirit Anyway?

This might surprise some of you but I’m not a big holiday person. Over most of my years the only holiday I ever really cared about was Thanksgiving, and that was because the family was together for a very nice meal that I knew I was only getting once a year.

Glen Scott via Compfight

My dad’s favorite holiday was Christmas, but since Dad’s not physically with us any longer the spirit is gone for me. Mom has never liked holidays. As a child, Mom got really sick at every single major holiday for some reason which, as I think about it, I believe was stress related since she did all the cooking and wanted it to be special. My wife has never believed in holidays to begin with, and my grandmother, who also is no longer with us, was pretty even keeled no matter what the season or day was.

Over the last few days in the office where I’m working, one lady in particular has been pushing out the Christmas spirit on everyone else. I want to blame it on her being a minister’s wife, but truth be told her cellphone’s ringtone is Let It Snow, and it was that when she first came to work in the office back in July. Truthfully I think she’s a little addled, but she’s someone who seems to have this spirit around her that, while not necessarily happy, has a touch of innocence that’s touching in one way, irritating in another, and makes me laugh all day because she’s unintentionally funny. 🙂

I guess it’s this last one that I really want to address more than anything else. On my long post about how to write a guest post, I highlighted an article I wrote on Adrienne Smith’s blog about social networking that ended up getting a lot of responses. However, as I looked at many of those responses again, I realize that most people saw what I wrote in the context of marketing and making money online rather than building up relationships with other people, building trust that might lead someone to ask you what you do and think about buying from you. In my eyes the two things are exclusive from each other, but in the minds of so many the only real reason to be online is to try to make money.

I see that a lot on Google Plus. Most of the sharing is how people can market themselves there and almost everywhere else (Facebook excluded most of the time), how to build up the numbers, how to get more people to sign up for newsletters or voluntarily put their name on email lists, etc. It’s an interesting culture because so many of them use that as an excuse as to why they no longer like Facebook, although it seems the majority of people who officially leave Facebook do so because of worries about privacy, which I can fully understand while also saying that more of them needed to be a bit more perspicacious in their actions up front so that it wasn’t as big a worry as it turned out to be.

With that said I want to get back to my original question because I think it’s of utmost importance, especially since we’re in another holiday season, the biggest monetary holiday of the year. How do you view the concept of holiday spirit? Are your particular beliefs religious, economic, commercial, spiritual, or something else?

To me it’s a bigger question than you might think because I’m of the opinion that holiday spirit means nothing if you can’t find a way to capture that feeling year round, or at least often during the year without the need for a holiday. I believe that too many people miss the opportunities that are abundant for happiness, jocularity, contentment, peacefulness and calm feelings.

You want to know something? If I wanted to look at the week I’ve had to this point I could say that there are a few things that really could have made this one of the worst weeks I could think of. Instead, I rolled with the punches, found some humor in bad situations, and am still feeling pretty good tonight, even though I passed up the opportunity to buy both the glazed cake-icing filled donuts and the mint Oreos, which would have made me temporarily happy but would have probably hurt me on the back end; heck! lol

Is that a pretty good teaser for you to check out the video below? Maybe, maybe not, but I’ll ask this question of you instead, and it’s the question above with a second part to it. What do you believe the holiday spirit is, and how do you find ways to capture it during the year, if you do? Maybe the video below will help you formulate a response; let’s find out:


28 thoughts on “What Is The Holiday Spirit Anyway?”

  1. It’s not an accident that people are so confused and end up becoming sad.

    Our society is like a surreal trip on acid or something.

    Church people buying Christmas trees and “santa claus” stuff when in reality this is a pagan and they know they’re supposed to be focused on Jesus.

    Charity organizations stealing money from the needy.

    But through it all what makes me happy is doing the right thing.

    In spite of all the foolishness we make the final decision and our “environment”, culture etc cannot offset our free will once we decide in our mind what we are going to do.

    I’m encouraged by the people this time of year who decide to go against the grain and do something special to help people. Like those guys that randomly show up and hand people like $1000 or pay for groceries, etc.

    This is what makes me happy and gives me joy.

    Seeing that “it” hasn’t gotten to all of us.

    1. That’s nice stuff Darnell. I’d love to be in the position to give thousands of dollars away like that, but instead I have to relegate myself to telling the people at my grocery store at home to scan the coupon that donates meals to a few people every time I go there. Still, the idea is to find something that helps us feel good all year round, something we ourselves can do for ourselves, whether it involves others or not.

  2. I watched your video last night (Thursday) and decided to reply to you in a blog post. My post goes live tomorrow. You opened my eyes about happiness. I realized that I focus too much on those things that get me upset and less on the things that make me happy/smile.

    I’m not into celebrating holidays and I’d have to say that Thanksgiving is my favorite too.

    I believe the holiday spirit is sharing happiness, kindness and love with others. These all should be captured throughout the year in some way or another. Helping others that are less fortunate than I am or simply being kind to others is how I capture the holiday spirit throughout the year.

    1. Wonderful stuff Evelyn, and I’m glad my video helped you along with some of that thinking. It’s easy to get into the trap of seeing things in a more negative light, and everyone goes through that at some point. Right now I’m on a pretty good roll though; I’m going to work as hard as I can to keep it going, no matter what. I’ll be looking forward to seeing your post.

  3. Hi Mitch, for me the holiday spirit is more of a signal which tells me tp put all the problems and shortcomings aside and enjoy yourself. I am sure we all get caught up in things which prevent uss to achieve our goals, I see holidays as a time to start on a fresh note.

    1. That’s an interesting take on it Harry. I’ve always felt that every day is a chance to start on a fresh note, and yet I love looking at New Years Day as an opportunity to really concentrate on change. Does starting new things make you happy?

  4. Let me talk about our holidays. Their origins lie in idle time in agrarian times when to occupy themselves, they created festivals, arranged for marriages, visited each other and so on. These periods also meant that they organised mutual exchanges of goods like cloth, knits, tools etc which were all made at home during the winter or rainy days and so each household had what was needed till the next year.

    The discovery of money and trading through money rather than a barter system brought about all the commercialised holidays that we see here. There is hardly any spirit left and the only spirit that you see in excess is from capped bottles.

    1. That almost sounds cynical Rummuser, and from you that would be a remarkable thing. I tend to believe that people who find holiday spirit through the spirits and that only are lost souls who haven’t figured out that there’s another way yet. I feel sorry for those folks until they start driving while impaired; then my sympathy for them is gone.

  5. Hey mitch, your post and writing style is ever green. Your post make me recall many holiday moments in my life. Thanks a lot for your valuable advises to new bloggers like me.

  6. I think you asked 2 questions. What does the holiday spirit mean to me? That’s complicated. I am frustrated by the discrepancies that encapsulate this roughly 8-week season. It’s supposed to be about family and giving and if you are a Christian, it’s all about Christ. But I rarely see those things in action. Instead, I see Capitalism at it’s worst. (Capitalization intended)People are rushing about to purchase a bunch a stuff that’s supposed to make other people happy. They are rushing about decorating and lighting up their homes to mimic Las Vegas. Oh yeah, they’ll plunk some coins into the Salvation Army bucket or contribute to a homeless shelter, but what about giving the rest of the year? What is Christ like about denying people financial aide and crying about paying for someoneelse’s medical care the other 10 months of the year?

    All that said, I still love the idea of Christmas. I love my little Christmas tree. I love snow, cold weather, Santa Claus, Rudolph, and Christmas cards which keep me in touch with people I might otherwise never hear from. And, sorry, I’ve gone on so long, I better not even attempt to answer question #2, about what makes me happy.

    1. LOL! What an answer Linda! You know, I’m not really bothered by Christmas and capitalization at all, probably because my family and I don’t really partake in any of it. I buy a few gifts here and there but it’s been decades since I cared about getting a gift. Giving one though… yeah, that part I like. But I’ve found that I can do that same thing at any point throughout the year, always revisiting a holiday spirit by making someone else feel good when they’re not expecting it.

  7. Great post (and video), Mitch 😀

    Holiday spirit, well that’s an interesting question.

    For me, Christmas is not just another break from school, it’s also about the being with my friends and family (I used to go for caroling, so it was fun).

    Right now, I am not so sure what it means to me. I am still trying to figure what I should believe in (I kind of dislike the celebrations right now. I mean, look at how much money people spend on buying and decorating their homes). Why “waste” that much money, when we could use it to help others who are less fortunate?

    Well, since you have 5 things you love, let me tell five that make me happy:

    1) Learning – I do love learning new things, offline or online.
    2) Blogging – Satisfaction, still my number one reason for blogging.
    3) A good thriller/mystery movie – I love a good movie, especially if it is of thriller/mystery genre.
    4) Family of course 😀
    5) Life – I have a love/hate relationship with life 😉

    I want to try a lot more things in life (travel around the world, try different foods, sky diving, skating etc) just for the fun of it (sure, I might break my leg or something, but at least I had the experience).

    Anyways, thank you for the interesting post, Mitch 🙂 Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

    1. I love your response Jeevan. Try not to ever let other people’s behavior bring you down when it has no effect on your life. As I commented to someone else, I don’t have a problem with people buying all these Christmas gifts and going crazy over it, as long as they don’t hurt someone else. I love learning as well, and in a way I figure that every time I write something I learn something at the same time. I hope you continue to have a happy life, and I hope you figure it out what you’re trying to figure out one of these days. 🙂

  8. I am not much into holidays either, though my wife will say, that everyday is a holiday for me. I guess I totally lost the holiday spirit, especially around Christmas since I moved to tropical country. Though I always have a good time celerating something with family or friends.

    1. Well Carl, I hope you at least know how to find the holiday spirit during those times when there’s no holiday available; that’s what makes life fun sometimes.

  9. Hi Mitch,

    I can understand how you feel, because it’s somehow the same situation with me too when it’s about Christmas days. I would like I can sleep over them, like from December 20 to January 5. Because I don’t feel any spirit or something. Since my parents divorced before 2 years everything is gone. I now live with my dad and young brother went with mother.

    I think I will just be on my PC and doing online working like every other day. Yeah there will probably be more sweets on the table then on normal working days but nothing special.

    Good article and I like your video, too!

    Best regards and everything best for Christmas and New year!
    – Adam

    1. Thanks Adam. I hope folks are understanding that just because I say I don’t feel the holiday spirit during the holidays that they’re not missing my message of celebrating others days throughout the year like they’re holidays.

  10. Hey Mitch,

    Well first off I’m just darn surprised that you’re not a big holiday type person accept for Thanksgiving and I know you had to spend this past one alone. Bummer man, I wish you could have spent it with us. I usually just love the holidays.

    Now last year I think my Mom made herself sick over them too. We had moved her into Houston and although even with the packing and unpacking I did most of the work, she still stressed over where it all needed to go. Then Thanksgiving came around and it had to be perfect in the new home and she ended up with shingles on that very day.

    But on to your post… Most people on the social sites are of the mentality that they are connecting with others for business purposes. But what I always like to share as you know that I think it should be about building relationships not of the intention that’s where it can lead. I know that’s what’s on most people’s minds though so I can’t blame them. Your guest post rocked by the way! 😉

    As for this holiday season. I’m normally 99.9% happy no matter when it is. I’ve had a rough ending to this year though and I have to admit I’m in a pretty bad funk myself right now. As you know it started with the death of my best friend and next door neighbor but since then we’ve have another death in the family and two more illnesses that we got word about right after the holiday. I’m just sad Mitch but I’ll get over it. We all have to learn how to move through it all but it’s also okay to be sad. I give myself permission darn it.

    Hope you’ve had a great week and can relax this weekend. That would be wonderful.


    1. I’m sorry your year is ending so badly Adrienne. I’ll wish you great spirits over the holiday and the rest of the year and, as you say, it’s comforting knowing that it won’t last forever. I’m starting to feel a little bit of holiday funk myself, though it may be related to my recent problems sleeping. Still, I know that life can’t always be on the up so I take my time and go for the gold when the mood comes back. 🙂

  11. Unfortunately I work in an industry where the only day off I’ll be getting is Christmas day. On that day it’s all about getting together with the family.

    More importantly though we all go to mass and celebrate the birth of Christ. That is after all what Christmas should be all about.

    1. What about all those other days during the year Sire? Don’t you ever feel that one can attain the same kind of spirit then that they might achieve because of a holiday? And weren’t you going to be cutting back on all those hours at this job? lol

      1. Somehow I don’t think that one gets the same feeling over a normal holiday that one gets over the Christmas season.

        As for work, well it seems I need to work a lot longer than I had hoped. That’s why I’ve been buying my weekly lottery tickets. Hopefully sooner or later I’ll win something decent and I’ll have the time to search for that holiday spirit.

      2. I’m not talking about holidays specifically Sire. I’m talking about getting that happy feeling that most people only get during a holiday. Since I don’t get happy feelings for any holidays anymore, I can’t wait for specific days to try to make me happy, and I think I’m better for it.

        I hope you win the lottery tonight because if you don’t, I’m winning it on Tuesday, since I forgot to play today. lol

      3. I’m not sure I get a happy feeling during holidays. Probably because I rarely had holidays all the years I had a business. Now that I do it’s no big deal. I must admit I do look forward to every second weekend which I have off..

        I’ve actually got a ticket in the Mega Millions, Euro Millions, the Spanish lottery, I forget the name but it’s held once a year, and Jackpot hunter. Don’t usually play that many, but I sort of looked at is a a reinvestment plan from my lottery earnings lol

  12. Hey Mitch,

    This is my first time on your blog and I really enjoyed it. It really made me think. What is the holiday spirit? I work for a school district in IT and the week before school let out for the holiday break, everyday just felt like Friday! Yes of course, the holiday break had something to do with it, but I’ll get those weeks where a monday or a wednesday would feel like a Friday.

    Why is that? Well I came to the conclusion that I gave myself something to look forward to when I felt this. Imagine if we all did this everyday in general? I think there would be a lot less depressed people, and more happy people that’s on the go! Not just being on the go, but being on the go to doing something they want to do! This is how I’m living right now and it always feel like i’m in process of doing something greater and this is why I look forward to 2014.

    Thanks for sharing! It did give me something to think about!

    1. Hi Sherman; welcome to the blog and what a great comment and thought. Having something to look forward to; that’s a great thing. And it doesn’t have to be anything big. I have to admit that sometimes it’s as simple as knowing that it’s Monday or Thursday, when I usually take myself out to dinner at a Japanese restaurant that I love, or even having an appointment to talk to someone I haven’t communicated with in a long time. Last week I looked forward to coming home for 2 weeks from my consulting assignment; that was a great thought, even if I couldn’t sleep.

      Good idea; I hope others see this & think about how to do it also. Enjoy the holidays!

  13. Every video and each post of you helps me in making myself better, i’m used to be a geek and spend every minute in front of computers. But I have learned about life from your talks mitch, keep writing..

    1. Thanks Nick. I hope you can find enough to write on about accounting. It’s a tough field, as I write for an accounting blog, but my articles aren’t technical like yours.

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