Humans tell stories.
Storytelling is the way we communicate and a key to humanity’s evolution. The stories we share come in all genres, but each one builds a different type of connection.
Stories often exist in the moment, but some are passed for generations. The most successful stories humans have ever told may be science, religion, mathematics, or money, but holidays may also land somewhere on this list of extraordinary, generational storytelling.
In the United States, 11 federal holidays are all observed in their own way, but Christmas (and comparable year-end celebrations around the world) creates a special atmosphere. In fact, the entire calendar and our fundamental sense of time seems to revolve around this cozy time of year. It’s when we pause to remember the year that was, and then look forward to what’s next. With such a shared inflection point, the year-end holiday season has created many recognizable symbols. Many holiday traditions revolve around religion, and just as many do not, but the legend of Santa seems synonymous with the holiday spirit. Whether you believe in Santa or not, it’s hard to argue with how well this jolly character embodies the essence of joy and generosity.
Balancing this reflection made me feel like a scientist without a clear thesis, but watching our little one lean into the holiday spirit makes me grateful and full of pure wonder.
Our generational stories, decorations, music, events, letters, gifts, movies, and all that is the holiday season, can spark an undeniable truth. Great stories bring us together and if the result is anything close to the beautiful innocence of a child’s sparkle this time of year, I’m a believer and thankful that Santa is real.