by Stefanie | 12.03.21
The word Joy seems to be ubiquitous in the month of December. Many of us associate joy with the holiday season, but its reach spans the entirety of our existence. Those three little letters certainly have had a big impact over the years. First appearing in written form in the 13th century to describe a feeling of pleasure and awe, we can now find joy just about anywhere. It’s a noun! It’s a verb! It’s a proper name!
How many of these do you recognize?
Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer. This foodie’s bible has been continuously published since 1936 and has sold more than 18 million copies. For the first time, delicious, simple recipes were easily accessible to the masses.
The Joy of Sex by Dr. Alex Comfort. The literal manual of how to do “it” spent almost 3 months on the NY Times Bestsellers List in the early 70s and has been translated into 24 languages. It brought the once taboo topic of sex front and center, in all its realistically illustrated glory.
The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross brought the most relaxing 30 minutes of television programming to living rooms around the world between 1983-1994. A military veteran with a magnificently formidable head of hair, Bob made oil painting look simple and introduced audiences everywhere to “happy little trees.”
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the 2019 Netflix sensation, introduced the phrase “Does it Spark Joy?” to our everyday vocabularies. Clothing, furniture, and even relationships now face this burning question to determine their futures. With more than 4 million followers on Instagram and her show available in 190 countries, it’s safe to say Kondo’s mantra is here to stay.
There’s no denying it, joy is everywhere. It’s in books, on television, and all over pop culture. The thing to remember is that what lights that joyful flame in you, might have the opposite effect on others. Holidays can trigger memories both joyous and traumatic, and what seems harmless to you can have a negative impact on someone else. The big family meal that you love so much may be unbearable to a friend who lost her parents. The light-hearted office gift exchange may be financially difficult for your co-worker who happens to be a single dad of four young kids. It is very easy to mistake someone’s hard times for a bah humbug attitude or grinch-like behavior, but so many struggles are often outwardly invisible.
So this holiday season, instead of focusing on what brings you joy, think about how you can make life better for others: support a family in need, donate your old blankets and sheets to a local animal shelter, or buy some classroom supplies for teachers in need. Even better, joy doesn’t need to be relegated to just the holiday season. Challenge yourself in 2022 to spark the hell out of it all year long.
Need some inspiration? Check out these links for easy ways to get the Joy Train rolling!
Kids in Need Foundation - Kids In Need Foundation believes every child in America should have equal opportunity and access to a quality education.
Best Friends Animal Society - Best Friends started with little fanfare and even fewer resources: creating a sanctuary for homeless and special-needs animals literally from the ground up, forging roadways and erecting buildings with their bare hands. They are creating a better world through kindness to animals.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital - St. Jude is a pediatric research hospital that treats kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases from all 50 states and around the world. Families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food.
AdoptAClassroom.org - AdoptAClassroom.org gives teachers a hand by providing needed classroom materials so that students can succeed.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.