Here's one of my favourite lyrics, one that you'll hear at this time of year
"There's a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy,
When they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie"
Bonus points for naming that tune before reading on.
I like these lines for two reasons.
Firstly, I admire the economy of the writing. It only takes one line for the imagination to conjure up a room full of people. Taken in context with the rest of the lyrics, ("Sleigh Ride" if you didn't name that tune) I have an image of people in colourful jumpers, their faces filled with excitement and happiness having come in from the cold. They're chatting brightly, delighted to be amongst friends. All that from one line. That's good writing.
Secondly, and more to the point of this blog entry, (and following on from yesterday's entry), the lyrics illustrate that happiness is increased when you've invested in it.
Like most people who grew up in England, I have no experience of eating pumpkin pie at Christmas. I do, however, appreciate how much better a cup of coffee tastes after you've been out in the cold. I imagine that coffee tastes even better after an exhilarating sleigh ride. (Not that I've never taken a sleigh ride, but I know coffee tastes better when drunk after building a snowman with my kids.)
Advertisers know this. That's why they like to show their clothes, perfumes, food and drinks being worn, eaten and drunk in parties or at family dinner tables. They're not selling whisky or watches, they're selling the promise of friendship. It's all a lie, of course.
You can't buy friendship with gifts at Christmas or any time. You want friendship, you have to invest in the people you know.
This is so obvious it hardly seems worth writing down.