It’s beginning to look a lot like anything

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By John Pawlak

This is an interesting time of the year. Snowfalls paint a wonderful texture on the sagebrush, and the distant mountains become picturesque with their candle-dripped white caps. The mesas glimmer in the sunlight with their earth tone colors sporting ice floes. The entire landscape seems to yell out like a George Henry Durrie painting.

An endless assortment of holidays also speckles the calendar, allowing all faiths to find cause to celebrate. We have Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Krampus, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, Ozzy Osbourne’s birthday and of course New Year’s Eve.

It’s December and there are a thousand and one (maybe even two) reasons to be happy. If the bills are paid, then you should be happy. If the bills aren’t paid ... well then, you have the stuff you bought and you still have the money.

Yet another reason to be happy! Your child is coming back from college to spend some time with the family. The house smells of cinnamon (or piñon) and the CD player, dusted off from months of silence, now sings out joyful tunes that are relegated to this time of the year.

Why? What is it about this season that brings out so much joy and happiness?

The truth is, there are wonderful things to celebrate every month, every day.

Have our lives become so regulated that we stop and go to the command of colored lights; we clock in at work, eat lunch at a designated hour, eat dinner at the same time every day, awake when told to by our alarm clocks, allowing ourselves to share the common warmth of “goodwill towards men” only during the Christmas season?

Now, I happen to love this time of year. The shopping malls are crowded with people shoving to get to the sale tables. Store aisles are cluttered with wonderful bargains on endless arrays of really cool things you have absolutely no use for. Houses are outlined with lights (with every fifth one burnt out) and lawns are polluted with gaudy cracked plastic decorations. And once again, we get to hear how Grandma was killed by a reindeer running amok. Yeah, I almost hate to admit it ... I love it all.

I think what I like most is that it’s not really about midnight sales or a corpulent elf sneaking down sooty chimneys or the comforting thought of bludgeoned relatives. No, it’s about the human capacity to find enjoyment in the simplest of things.

Despite a failing economy, two endless foreign conflicts, a burgeoning national debt, an unabated outsourcing of jobs and an assortment of heavy-metal infected toys from China ... people just seem to be, well, jolly. Yeah, jolly is the best word for it. Kind of makes you want to throw away that diet book, reach for another glass of eggnog and revel in the fact that you can wobble with the best of them.

This holiday season will be over before you know it and the routine of life will begin again with a new year — in fact, a new decade. Resolutions will be made (and broken). For many people, the joy of the season will melt away far sooner than the snow on your rooftop.

But why stop celebrating? If you need a holiday to motivate you, do an Internet search and you’ll find something to justify a party every day of the year.

And if you can’t, make up your own reason. Want to feel good on Jan. 17? Well, it only comes once a year! Get out that champagne!

Seriously though, who needs a reason to feel good? Who needs a special occasion to call up some friends and have them over for a nice dinner, some music, a drink of spiced wine, maybe some dancing ... maybe a lot of dancing if you drink too much of that spiced wine.

Festive celebrations shouldn’t be relegated to a handful of Hallmark Card Holidays. You don’t need foil paper covered gifts to know how much you are appreciated anymore than you need a mistletoe to kiss your sweetie pie (honey bun, sugar lips, schnookums, smoochy cakes ... whatever embarrassing nickname works for you!)

Go ahead , give that lounge-chair lump a kiss and tell him it’s to celebrate Babylonian Independence Day.

My point is, the holidays should remind us that we can enjoy life! We all have things in our lives that make it worth the effort.

Whether it’s family, friends, pets, hobbies or a warped fascination with math problems, it’s easy to find a reason to let the warmth of the holiday season last 12 months.

And just in time too! Now pass me some more of that spiced wine ... and don’t waste my time with those small glasses!