“ You don’t have a merry Christmas, you make a merry Christmas.”– Nikki Giovanni, Poet
I read this 30-plus years ago and it popped into my head last week. Happiness cannot be bought, but it can be shared.
This holiday season, slow down and simplify. Focus on people instead of things. Let your “gifts” be the remembering and recognition of your blessings. It’s all in the right attitude. Make yourself a Thankful Christmas and you will have a Merry Christmas – and Hanukah and Kwanza.
Happiness May be Contagious
A recent medical study published in the British Journal of Medicine demonstrates that happiness is contagious. Happiness has a ripple effect and can affect people of up to three degrees of separation – that is one’s friends’ friends’ friends. Other’s happiness positively affects you, but unhappy friends do not diminish the effect of happy friends. This effect is seen across all types of social ties. The effect diminishes over time, it needs to be replenished. The actual cause of this effect is not known. We can leave it to neuroscience and metaphysics to work this out. Perhaps there is Happiness Chi? The bottom line: Share your happiness and it will come back to you.
Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies
My Holiday gift to you is a recipe for my all time favorite and easiest brownie recipe – “Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies” – yes, THE Katharine Hepburn. She was a self-confessed chocoholic. Every time I make these, people ask for the recipe. Mix everything in a sauce pan and dump it into a square pan, bake and you are done – just a few dishes to wash. Didn’t I say simplify?
2 squares of unsweetened chocolate
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 c sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1/4 c flour
¼ tsp salt
1 c chopped walnuts [can be omitted with no decrease in deliciousness]
“First melt two squares of unsweetened chocolate and 1 stick of unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of sugar. Add 2 eggs along with ½ tsp vanilla and beat like mad. Stir in ¼ cup of flour, ¼ teaspoon salt and a cup of chopped walnuts – not smashed up, you know, but just chopped into fairly good sized pieces.”
“Now mix all that up. Then you butter a square tin (8×8 inches) and dump the whole thing quickly into the pan. Stuff this pan into a preheated 325 degree oven for 30-40 minutes [test with a toothpick for doneness] After that take out the pan and let it cool for awhile, then cut into 1 ½ inch squares and dive right in.”
I can hear Katharine Hepburn’s voice in my ear whenever I am making this. Personally I let my ½ tsp measuring spoon of vanilla overflow a bit. And I cut the brownies into nine good size squares of chocolate fudgy delight. Let the endorphins in the chocolate do their work.