My mom gave me Ross Gay’s BOOK OF DELIGHTS last year for Christmas. Gay, a poet and professor at Indiana University, spent a year writing an essay every day about something that delighted him. In an interview with MPR’s Euan Kerr, Gay explained his definition of delight: “It feels to me that it often involves an element of surprise or an element of ‘I didn’t know that,’ or ‘I didn’t know that I knew that,’ or ‘I forgot that.’ Or something [that is] sweet and reminds us of the good. It’s a category of joy.”
The Christmas season is filled with moments that surprise us with delight. The first time we rode the ferry (a delight in itself) to Seattle at night and saw the Ferris wheel lit up like candy canes was a delight.
Santas on the ferry were a delight.
We were told it never snows in Seattle, so when we moved here we didn’t even bring our shovels. I was terribly homesick that first Christmas, but then, much to my delight, it snowed on Christmas Eve.
Remembering moments of delight from the past brings joy, too: “Remember the year Santa brought us a puppy?” “Remember the dollhouse Grandpa Tony made?” “Remember when you played Mary in the church Christmas program and a real baby played Jesus?” “Remember when…?”
Creating moments of delight for others is especially meaningful this time of year. Visiting nursing homes to share music with the residents, surprising friends with spontaneous cookie deliveries, or putting together a hot chocolate tray with all the fixings and watching a favorite Christmas movie together are just a few ways to conjure up delight. And, of course, wrapping presents and putting them under the tree to be met with excited squeals on Christmas morning is one of the very best delights.
Have you had any special moments that filled you with delight this Christmas? Or are you planning something special that you know will fill someone else with delight?