Joy, an emotion that lights up the eyes of a child when they open a gift to find their dreams come true. It fills the soul like a warm cup of soup on a winter’s night. It switches out wrinkles for smile lines on the eldest person’s face. No time is joy more easily come by, nor taken away, as at Christmas.

During the holidays, joy can often be snatched away by grinches who have yet to have their hearts grown three sizes bigger. We are in a hurry, slowed by weather, fighting a winter flu, or tired of long lines. Perhaps family drama makes the holidays a dread. Children grow demanding. Our cooking skills are put to the test by various parties, cookie exchanges, and Christmas dinners. December 26th cannot come soon enough.

In the midst of this hustle and bustle, remembering to find the joy in a situation can return life to Christmas. The gratefulness from the Salvation Army bell ringer when someone drops a quarter in their bucket. The smile from a weary cashier when we genuinely thank them for their work. The exuberance from students (and teachers?) when they hear news of a snow day. Glimpses of joy that remind us that Christmas is more than just decorations, food, and running around.

This Christmas, dig deep to remember how joy feels, then try to share that with others. As writers, we study the craft of showing our characters’ emotions. Put that same work into showing joy to co-workers, neighbors, and family members. Perhaps that joy will reflect back on you.

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