Column: Hopeful around the holidays | Local entertainment

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Only one week ‘til Christmas! Does the stress you out? Or maybe it makes you gloriously happy? Or perhaps you’re perfectly ambivalent?

Does this emotion change for you year to year or is it always the same? Are you a “Grinch” or a “Holly Jolly Elf” (I totally made that up)? Are you a day after Thanksgiving decorator or last-minute decorator or not at all decorator or “only if that kids come” decorator? Or do you celebrate a different holiday altogether?

There are so many ways to celebrate, or not celebrate, Christmas. I’m always interested to know how people approach this holiday. For many, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” and for others, “Christmas will be just another day.”

I’ll admit that I am a full on Christmas fanatic, which might come as a surprise to some who know me. I love it all: I love the music, I love the decorations, I love the boozy mugs of “cheer,” I really love giving gifts; but mostly I love the light and joyful feeling that sort of hovers in the air this time of year.

Honestly, that feeling is probably because a lot of people get some time off during the holidays, which generally tends to put people in a good mood, but I like to believe the lightness is the result of a collective hope. A hope that for a few weeks we can all be better people (and I think we mostly are) followed by a collective intaking of air as the world holds its breath and hopes that the new year will bring new and better things, that the next 365 days can be shaped into a world we not only want to see, but engage in.

Hope is a powerful emotion, and to me, it’s one of the most powerful things about the holidays. It’s why I love Christmas.

Of course, at the WYO we’re always hopeful. Hopeful and grateful. Hopeful that we can share the arts with those who need it most and grateful that we get to try. Thank you for allowing us to try and we hope you get to celebrate Christmas (or not) exactly how you’d like.

Erin Butler is executive director of the WYO Performing Arts and Education Center.