I ventured out on Christmas eve, something I usually don't do. I had an objective (to try and find something specific), but I realized later I had a secondary objective. I wondered if I could find the Christmas spirit in its deepest sense—not just people being transactionally pleasant to each other because it was in their self-interest monetarily. I needn't have worried. My first stop at a store revealed an older man leaving the building I was going to. He was standing there holding the door for me, even though I was younger than he was. I said hello and he looked at me—really looked at me and said in a quiet voice, "Merry Christmas." "Merry Christmas to you," I said, "and thank you." He smiled and went on his way. It was a short interaction, but a quality one. The rest of my outing was filled with similar encounters. People actually took the time to see each other, even though they were busy doing whatever they had to do. Interesting.
Later on, I was standing in the checkout line of another store when an elderly man looking to be in frail health came slowly in the door pushing a shopping cart. I instinctively moved over to give him room to pass. He caught my eye and thanked me, then he said, "If the Christmas is alive this day it is certainly alive in you sir." I was taken aback. Was he serious? Evidently, he was. I said, "Thank you, sir and Merry Christmas to you." His face beamed and he grabbed my arm as he passed by, patting it gently.
You can find the Christmas spirit ( or as I like to say, "Santa Claus") across many different socio-economic groups. It has been my experience, however, that it finds outward expression with more frequency and perhaps with more genuine cheerfulness in communities that have less material wealth and so who rely on each other. After all, buying gifts costs money. Being nice to your fellow human (and non-human) being...priceless.