Yay! It’s time for decking the halls, Christmas jingles, and presents! Good food and cocktail parties! Crowded malls, frantic shoppers, family squabbles and… uh-oh! Is it just me or does it seem like the holidays have become less magical over the years? I feel like the holidays are more about filling that emptiness inside with too much food and consumerism, and less about family and spreading “tidings of comfort and joy.”
We fangirls are always looking to bring more magic into our lives, so what better time to start than Christmas?
Charlie Brown noticed how Christmas was changing back in 1965 when A Charlie Brown Christmas aired for the first time. Back then, I dare say, Christmas was still more about love and family than food and things, and yet he was beginning to feel the emptiness.
Perhaps like Charlie Brown, or even the Grinch, you just don’t get the point of Christmas. Shopping, shopping, and more shopping. But where’s the sparkle that everyone always talks about in movies and television specials? Is it a myth? No, but like most things in life you have to choose to make things the way you want them to be. It takes more than wishing. It takes doing!
As a hero, you can choose not to follow down the depressing path of consumerism. You can choose to do what feels good to you. It’s only when you break away from the curse of “normal” that you can begin to experience the purpose and satisfaction of making a difference in your own life and in the lives of others.
Is it a coincidence that in this age of consumerism the overall happiness of adults is declining while anxiety and depression continue to rise significantly for teenage girls? I think not. So what can you do about it? You can start by doing something, anything! Don’t let yourself become just another gloomy statistic.
Most fandoms recognize that Christmas means something different for heroes. Heroes understand what really matters and how even their smallest actions can make a difference.
In episode 3.10 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Amends” (one of the best episodes ever BTW), Buffy invites a callous and potentially dangerous Faith to Christmas dinner. Buffy even buys Faith a Christmas gift on the off chance that she will make an appearance. Then, despite all of their differences, she seems genuinely happy when Faith shows up for dinner. Buffy has the heart of a hero. She wants the best for everyone, and in doing so finds happiness herself. Then, of course, she ditches Christmas dinner to save Angel– even though he destroyed her life for a year, was way unstable, and probably uber dangerous. But as a hero, Buffy believed in him. She wouldn’t let him give up.
In A Very Supernatural Christmas, Sam and Dean spend their holiday mostly in the family business like any other month. They, however, demonstrate their heroism in a unique way– by pushing past the heartache of a “last Christmas” together, and celebrating the best way they know how. They work through the discomfort for the sake of love. Now those are some brave (and sexy) heroes!
Harry, Ron and Hermione never take a break from saving the day. They break every school rule (and you know that’s saying something for Hermione!) to pursue their belief that they can help stop the attacks at Hogwarts. They use the Christmas holiday as an opportunity to continue their quest for the truth, not as an excuse to do nothing. Now that takes a hero’s heart!
As you can tell, the holiday season is a great time to start claiming the life of a hero. The best part is that there are so many ways to make a difference. You get to choose what kind of hero you will be, based on your unique skills and personality (i.e. your superpowers). So go spread some holiday cheer, think about others first, and stop making excuses! Don’t know where to start? Here are a few suggestions:
Ask yourself what your favorite hero would do during the holidays (see above for examples), then adapt it to your life. That’ll make playing the hero even more enjoyable because you’ll almost be role playing 😛 So, for example, if your big hero is Buffy, like me, then you would look for someone that is alone this Christmas and invite them to your celebration. Or you could spend some time encouraging a person that you know is having a rough time.
Don’t just pass by that homeless person on the street. Instead, make eye contact, say “Merry Christmas,” and be generous. Not just with money or things, but with your heart. Homeless persons get very little civilized human interaction, and you could make their day by acknowledging that they are a person.
Realize that you face many heroic opportunities every day. Heroes don’t do “one good deed for the day.” They do good whenever the opportunity arises. Don’t worry, it will get easier the more you do it. Especially when you see how amazing you feel!
Get others to join your quest. Heroes change the world by inspiring others to be their best selves. Plus, what’s a hero without a good sidekick?
Think about how you can use your superpowers to change other people’s lives for the better.
Use this December as a warm-up for your New Year’s Resolution(s). The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see amazing changes in your life!