If you’re like me you may have picked up some nasty bug going around and spent some time at home recently … feverish, coughing, sneezing and achy. Sound like one of those endless cold medicine commercials? Well, if you’re lying on the couch covered with blankets watching movies while you recover, you can relate to all those commercials. You’re miserable, so you self-medicate by watching “happy” movies. I’m sure the producers, directors and actors hope you’ll feel after watching one. But do they really make you feel better?

With little else on TV this time of year, you must choose to watch them or the endless re-runs of old movies. So you watch, and you see the same actors in a string of movies with similar story lines. One of the characters, usually the woman, has lost their Christmas spirit, is overworked during the holidays, somehow escapes the big city and ends up in a snow-covered, idyllic small country town. The town is filled with happy people going about their lives, who warm the heart of the stranger, and by the end of the show the main character finds love and leaves the city to become the town’s newest resident.

I did a short survey about how much movie you actually get to watch among the commercial breaks that accompany those shows. For every eight minutes of movie, you must watch 11 to 13 minutes of commercials! It must cost a lot to produce those movies that are supposed to make you feel better. But if that doesn’t do it, the medicine the commercials offer might do that medicinally.

Maybe if I get well by the time Christmas rolls around, I won’t be so miserable. But even then, I won’t expect real life to be like those movies. When it snows here it’s usually accompanied by bitter cold and ice. You won’t see me frolicking about in a cute plaid mini skirt and tall boots tossing a scarf around my neck while I scurry down the street for a latte like the movie characters. I’ll be properly dressed for the weather, and my heart will be warmed by the love of friends and family I care about all year long.

It doesn’t have to take a trip to an idealized town in North Dakota to make one feel good about the holidays. All it takes is one heartfelt gesture toward a regular human being you may never even meet. Do something nice for someone just to spread the joy of Christmas. It will warm your soul and make you feel better. We at the library hope you all have a very real Merry Christmas!