If our current holiday movie culture is to be believed, the Christmas season has a specific recipe:
Local, ruggedly handsome man who is a civic minded “Do-Gooder” and who has either lost the love of his life or is recovering from a broken relationship.
New York City, beautiful, career minded, checklist-oriented woman who has lost the Spirit of Christmas and denies she even needs it.
A chance meeting, preferably in the woman’s hometown, which is decorated to the max in Christmas, has the most phenomenal Christmas pageant/festival/program, and is buried in several feet of snow but still has immaculately plowed streets and sidewalks.
A crisis leading to the possible cancellation or delay of the above mentioned event but which drives the couple closer together and leads to a near miss kiss that is interrupted by a widowed aunt, a deepening of the crisis, or a realization that one or both will be taking a new job that will lead them hundreds of miles out of the other person’s life.
An overheard portion of a conversation, a devastating rumor or a misunderstood hug of an old flame that drives one party (usually the woman) to make a relationship altering exit from the town.
The ultimate moment when one of the two realizes what a short-sighted mistake they have made, causing them to drive all night back to the hometown just in time to save the event, light the Christmas tree or, in general, save Christmas and get that restorative kiss from that true love who has been apparent to all of us throughout the story.
We all understand that this formula of boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-wins-girl-back is not a new concept. Hollywood built an entire industry around it. The same formula has been used by a variety of musical genres to the same great effect. We also understand that not everyone gets to live the story book life. We are aware of the needs and problems around us.
So, my Christmas wish for each of you this year is:
Moment to remember the Reason for the Season, spend time with someone who needs a visit, take a walk in the evening to see Christmas lights up close, sip a little hot cocoa with a two-year-old.
Evening to reflect upon the goodness and love that graces your life. Share a box of Christmas cookies with someone who could use a lift. Enjoy a few moments staring at a Christmas tree with no other lights on.
A touch of creativity with a dash of old-fashioned do-it-yourself. Make a few decorations this year. Say an extra Christmas prayer for someone in uniform. Forget being busy for a while and cozy up to a fire with your shoes off.
A memory from Christmases long ago with the joy of spending this Christmas with the new people in your life. It’s acceptable to shed a tear over those who aren’t around your tree this season. It’s also acceptable to open your heart to those who need your special Christmas touch.
A bit of the child-like awe of the thought of Santa. Maybe, just maybe, there really is a jolly old elf in a bright red suit and a flowing white beard. It’s possible that Christmas magic is as strong as you remember it being when you were young.
The realization that this Christmas is unique. There will never be another like it. It’s not the dinner. It’s not the parties. It’s not even the presents. It’s more the line from the old Christmas song, “…and the thing that’ll make them ring, is the carol that you sing, right within your heart.”
From all of us at the Saint Cloud Chamber of Commerce, may you find your own recipe to a meaningful Christmas.
Saint Cloud Chamber of Commerce