A long time ago, long before people even had Christmas, they used to live on top of each other in big wooden huts.
Even though the huts were very big there was never enough room for an argument. So everyone had to learn to get on well with everyone else.
People being people it was very hard for them to always get on. But, as there was nowhere else to go everyone did their very best and after a while everyone knew each other very well.
In those days the winters were longer and the winter nights were colder and darker then they are today. The people living in their big wooden huts had a hard time in the cold and the dark.
It was hard for the birds and animals too. In the short winter days they hunted for food under the snow. They left footprints and long shadows on the thick deep snow as the low winter sun set. In the long winter nights there was nothing for them to do but sleep or try their best to keep warm.
Because life was so hard for everyone in the winter the people often felt sad and depressed. This would make them start arguments. And even though the huts where very big there was never room for an argument. So, people being people, they did what people always do when times get tough. They decided to cheer themselves up with a big winter celebration.
A really good celebration needs a lot of hard work, and that takes time - and in the long dark winter nights they had plenty of time.
A really good celebration should have a really good feast. So they saved up all their best food until the weather was really bad and the nights where really long and dark.
A really good celebration should have presents. Everyone knew each other very well and so they all knew what was a good present to give.
In those days, before people invented shops, people had to make everything they needed themselves. So they all made their special gifts during the longest darkest nights and shortest days and kept them hidden and secret until the special day of celebration came.
In those days the winters were so long that it was always a very long time to wait. When it is cold and dark waiting takes an even longer time than normal. But just getting ready for their great day was such fun that people really began to look forward to it and slowly they began to really enjoy their winter.
In all the long dark nights of winter with all the people thinking long and hard about how to make their family and friends happy there was so much happiness around that some of it floated up out of their hearts and rested in the things they saw at that time of year.
And then at last it came. The winter celebration that we now call Christmas was always a big sucsses with everybody. Everyone got what they wanted. Everyone ate what they liked (and left what they didn't) and everybody got on well with everyone else because there is never enough room for an argument, even in a very big hut.
And so it passed, but the people remembered their big celebration at the back of their minds and next year when the snow fell again they thought how really nice it was.
When they saw the animals running around hunting for food, or saw the little footprints they left in the snow, people laughed as they remembered their last big celebration and looked forward to the next one.
As the sun hung low in the winter sky it left long shadows which reached out from the snow covered trees. When people opened the hearts to let in the sights of winter it stirred up more memories and remembering them stored up even more for people to remember for years and years to come.
When people next saw all the sights of winter where the happiness had been saved from last year they felt the happiness brand new all over again.
Each year that passed the stored happiness grew and grew until it was so big that it became a Mood.
The Mood soon grew so big that it could be found everywhere when the days where short and the nights were long, when the sun was low and the trees were bare, when the branches were covered in snow and the shadows where long and the animals left footprints hunting for food.
That was how the first Christmassy Mood was born.
Many years have passed. Shops have been invented, and schools, and busses and lots of people even have a television. Not only that, most people don't live in huts any more but everyone knows there is still never enough room for an argument, it doesn't stop them any more though.
Winter nights are still long and cold but most people are inside most of the time and don't notice any more. Trees still get covered in snow from time to time and the birds and animals still have to look hard for food, but people only ever see them on the television. Things really are different but people still have a big winter celebration each year even though they can't really remember why.
The Christmassy mood was feeling very sad. Was it because she was getting confused now that everything was so different? She had been visiting people too early. Maybe people were getting confused as well because weeks before christmas people were already waiting for her to come and cheer them up. Even if they didnt know it, somewhere deep down inside of each and every one of them, grown-ups and children were all waiting for their big winter celebration.
This waiting normally made the christmassy mood very excited. She would get so excited that it was often hard for her to keep from popping in to peoples heads at all the wrong times. It was such fun! She enjoyed peoples excitement so much that she jumped into their minds at any time at all. Sometimes it got so bad that she made them feel all christmassy in Summer!
This wouldnt be so bad if people stayed feeling happy and christmassy all the time. But people dont stay feeling just one way all the time. If they did then they wouldnt be real people. People being people always change their mood, sometimes even when they dont want to.
It was the same for the Christmassy mood. After a while of feeling all christmassy in Summer people would sort of wake up and look around and wonder why. Where is all the snow? they would ask. Where are the decorations and where are my presents? If it wasnt christmas yet they would feel silly and out would pop the Christmassy mood and in would come the messy, irritated, almost angry mood people get into when they are disappointed. The Christmassy mood didnt like doing that to people, but she did SO like making people happy.
Once, things were getting really hard for the Christmassy Mood to cope with. People had begun to get so confused that they put up decorations early that year, very early. They said things like "Shop early for Christmas" but it was far too early too feel christmassy and the Mood knew it.
As much as she knew it was too early for Christmas she joined in with all the early getting ready things that people did, like buying a new plastic Christmas tree and spray on snow, like buying a nice smelly bar of soap for the old lady who lives next door, like buying five sheets of wrapping paper for just one pound - in september - far too early.
But times have changed. These days it hardly ever snows at christmas, so if you want snow it has to be sprayed on. People dont notice when the nights are at their longest, they just turn on their lights and sit and watching the television. People have forgotten how to look forward and prepare for their big winter celebration. They know how to buy things though.
Children havent forgotten thought the Christmassy mood. Children always notice things. Children still see the birds and animals hunting for food under the snow. They still see how dark it is when they came home from school. They still feel warm and safe when the wind blows outside their houses. The Christmassy mood felt most at home with children.
But because it hardly ever snows any more when the calendar said it was nearly Christmas, because it was so easy to get food from the shops and because people didnt really know each other any more the Christmassy mood didnt fit in to peoples hearts the way it used to.
Every year instead of growing bit by bit as the happiness overflowed and floated up from peoples hearts, the Christmassy mood got smaller and smaller bit by bit. People would see the sights where the mood was strongest and instead of adding a new bit of happiness they sucked it dry. They didn't mean to, they didn't want to, but they did it all the same. Instead of looking at the cold snow on the bare branches of the trees outside they made fake snow and sprayed it on plastic trees which they put in their hot houses. This made them happy in a way but it wasnt the same. It had lost something. But, people were still people.
The Christmassy mood felt really old. She couldnt get in to these plastic trees and spray-canned snows. Birds and animals couldnt look for food under these new branches. They couldnt leave their footprints on the sitting room carpet. That old lady must have plenty of soap. That wrapping paper is horrid even if you do get five sheets for a pound. No one is doing anything properly any more she thought. Then she had another thought, and she didn't like it at all. She thought that a new mood must be getting all the attention that used to be given to her. She suddenly realised that a new Mood was being made each year.
The Christmassy mood was getting angry. When people (and Moods) get angry they think and say things that are not really fair. The Christmassy mood began to think lots of very unfair things.
She thought this new Mood must have nothing to do with snow because it never snowed.
It must have nothing to do with knowing people and loving them so much that the love could be felt in their gifts.
It must have nothing to do with celebrating being alive at winter time.
The new Mood must be all about buying things, about working hard to afford the new and bigger presents that the children had seen on TV.
It must be all about selling as much as possible as fast as possible to anyone even if they don't like it.
The new mood had to be all about doing your duty for the children and not about showing them your love.
That is what the Christmassy mood thought. That was a really unfair way to think, but it must have looked like that to her. She had really got depressed.
When people (and Moods) get depressed they cant see things very well. She was so depressed that she couldnt look deep inside peoples hearts any more. She couldnt see that deep down inside, people still wanted and needed the christmassy mood very much. She couldn't see that people were doing all that they could to enjoy their big winter celebration, it was just that they did it differently now because things and people (and Moods) have changed.
Because things have changed so much it is very hard for people to recapture the old happiness that was the Christmass Mood of long ago. People still remember about snow and birds and animals hunting in the cold but now they draw these things on cards and give them to each other to help keep the memory going. But it was not the same and everyone felt something special was missing.
People are always people and so they still looked for the old Christmassy Mood with parts of their hearts which they had forgotten they had. The parts they had used all the time when they were children. They would say things like Christmas was so much better then and Christmas really meant something when I was young and Its really only for the children now isnt it. They had forgotten that it was for everyone.
The Christmassy mood had forgotten something too. She had forgotten that people, being people always need to feel happy and they will always find a way, but sometimes they need a bit of help. Now, at last, she remembered. The Christmassy mood hadnt really forgotten after all, how could she? It was what she was!
Now she knew what to do. She had to find the New Mood. But where should she look?
There was a boy, a happy sort of boy normally, who was in a special need of a happy christmassy sort of mood. He had not been ill. No one had been nasty to him. Nothing had really gone wrong to make him upset but somehow he was feeling very sad. He sat around in his room for hours and hours just waiting to feel better.
The Christmassy mood was out searching for the New Mood and had almost given up hope when she saw the little boy and noticed at once that he was feeling upset. So she wanted to help.
If it was hard for the mood to keep from popping in to peoples minds in the summer time, think how hard it was for her not to help this little boy now. It was winter time, the snow lay thick on the ground. He was warm and safe in his bedroom and the christmassy mood, who could tell when people wanted to feel christmassy deep down, was overwhelmed by the need coming from the little boy.
But it wasnt christmas yet. What could she do? If she just popped in to his mind then and there the little boy would certainly be cheered up a lot, she knew she could do that. But what would happen next? When she went away again, as she always had to, how would the boy feel then without a real Christmas to keep him happy?
"Its just not fair" thought the Christmassy mood. How can this little boy ever feel happy if I can't come and cheer him up?
The Christmassy mood was supposed to come at christmas to cheer people up in the depths of winter. If she came to people early they would get all disappointed when she went away and then they would think badly of Christmas when it really came. What could she do?
There sat the little boy, it was winter time and it was snowing. The birds and animals were looking for food but the little boy wasnt looking at them. He was watching his own television in his own room, warm and safe but he was really lonely.
Then the Christmassy mood had an idea. It was no good getting depressed and having arguments, especially when she didnt know who she was arguing with! She had to find out more about this New Mood who had taken her job. This New Mood could come to people much earlier than she ever could, she would just have to talk to him. Maybe he would know what to do for the lonely little boy. But where would she find the new mood?
Sadly the old Christmassy Mood sat in the room with the little boy, not touching his heart or his mind so as not to disappoint him later, she sat and thought and thought and thought.
The little boy was still watching his television. His favourite programme had just started. It was all about the new sort of plastic Christmas. Rubbish! thought the old Christmassy Mood. But as the programme continued the Christmassy Mood watched astonished as a change came over the little boy. He was laughing! He was really enjoying himself! Oh good thought the Christmassy Mood. So the new Mood can make people happy too.
But what how will he feel when the programme is over? thought the Christmassy mood. Surely he will be all disappointed, grumpy and depressed. She waited and watched, watched and waited until the programme ended. The little boy sat back happily in his comfy chair. He didnt look disappointed or depressed, he wasnt grumpy at all. He was waiting for the next programme!
So that is how it worked! She would watch the television as well, that is what people did most these days. They liked it so much that is where the new Mood must live thought the Christmassy mood. So she floated up and settled on the little boys television ....and there was the new Mood!
Large as life but rather thin, the new Mood noticed her watching him. He looked like a nice chap, a little shallow perhaps but basically she liked him at once.
'You dont look very well' he said in a brash rather thoughtless way. 'What is wrong with you? Havent you been fed recently?'
'No, hardly at all' she replied surprised. 'You dont look very well either. What have you been eating?' she asked. He swung his arms out wide to show her the sight of millions of people watching their televisions happily. The Christmassy mood was delighted to see so much happiness all at once, but she saw something else as well. The people saw their televisions well enough but they didnt seem to notice each other at all.
'But people are ignoring each other!' she exclaimed 'Oh its alright when you get used to it' replied the new mood. 'Granted things are a bit impersonal these days but when so many people enjoy a television program at the same time I feel great! You should try it' he said.
The Christmassy mood looked at the millions of faces watching their televisions and saw that it was true. They were happy enough but something was still missing.
Then the Christmassy mood had another good idea. 'I think I will watch a bit, thats not a bad idea. I could do with a bit of recharging' she said. 'But how can I take what is yours without giving you something in return?'
'Oh thats easy said the new mood. 'Just tell me a bit about yourself and I can share something of yours to make up!'
So she did. The old Christmassy mood told the new Christmassy mood all about the snow and the darkness, the animals feeding and people really knowing each other and caring for who they really where. And in return the New Christmassy mood told her all about how to enjoy Christmas shopping without getting upset by the crowds. He told her how wonderful it was to always be warm and safe. He showed her how the television could let people see and hear all the stories that the best story tellers in the world could make.
They talked and talked and the more they talked the more they got to know each other and the more they did that the better they felt. Soon they knew so much about each other that it was hard to tell where one of them started and the other one finished! They both felt splendid. The old mood didnt feel old and left out any more. She was being fed again by the new feelings of the people who lived where the snow didnt fall at christmas. The new mood didnt feel so hollow any more. At last he had something firm to fill out his christmas happiness. At last both the Christmassy moods were happy. They had helped each other by finding out who they really were.
Now, together, the two Christmassy moods knew how to help the lonely little boy watching television. The new mood could stop the little boy feeling sad when christmas was over. He could show the little boy there would always be another christmas. But better than that, much better than that. Now the old Christmassy mood had found a new mood she knew there must be others too! So they both opened their hearts and looked at the world. And there they were!
For every time of year, for every place where people have ever felt happy there is a little bit of that happiness locked up waiting to be felt again by the next person to notice it. The more people who notice the happiness in something the stronger it grows until one day it becomes a mood. There are holiday moods, bonfire moods, birthday moods, relaxed moods, lots and lots of moods just waiting to be felt. Now the two Christmassy moods could teach the little boy how to see all the happiness locked up in all the other times of the year. Now the Old Christmassy mood didnt have to worry about popping in to peoples minds at any time at all.
Now the two moods knew what to do they floated in to the hearts of everyone they could find and told them all about it. Just look at the world around you they said. There is always something there to be found that will give you happiness and strength if you will only let it in. Dont worry about what time of year it may be, it is always the right time to feel happiness they said. And there is always something to feel happy about if you just look for it, even on the telly!
Now it was alright for the little boy to feel christmassy when it snowed in March. When he grew up he knew that Christmas was not just for children but for everyone. Better than that, he knew how to love every thing and every moment, just by looking at it. Now you too know that if your heart is open enough to see the world around you it will let in all the happiness left there by other people when the same sights made them happy too.
And now, a link to my last employer's site:
Electronic Control Services. - which I still maintain.