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What are we missing in the rush?

You can't help but feel the Christmas spirit walking through town and enjoying the beautiful tree light displays. That is if you take the time to look around you and enjoy the festive sights.

You can't help but feel the Christmas spirit walking through town and enjoying the beautiful tree light displays.

That is if you take the time to look around you and enjoy the festive sights.

But in our crazy lifestyle it is all too easy to rush around in a harried, frustrated state trying to get that one last present bought — never mind if it's just the right gift — just get it and be dammed.

This is a time of year when we should slow down and really treasure the friends and family we have around us, and take some time to think about how fortunate we are.

Yes, it's true we live in a place where we don't get to vacation at the same time as everyone does — while travellers are here taking my advice — Whistler residents and workers are for the most part getting little or no time with family and friends.

But if we want the visitor to embrace the holiday spirit we really need to as well.

There can be little doubt that the stress of the holidays for local workers — and missing that magical feeling of Christmas that one can really only get from stepping off the treadmill — can have an impact on everyone's joie de vivre.

In all kinds of places and in all kinds of circumstances we need to let go of the rat race and take time to see the world around us — both the beauty and the despair.

I was reminded of this recently after reading a post on my Facebook page. It told the story of a subway violin player in a Metro station in Washington, D.C. some years ago.

He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 1,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. Only a few people showed any real interest one of who was a three–year-old boy who was constantly tugged away from the music by his mother. The violinist collected $32 ($20 from one woman) from passersby and when he finished playing no one paid any attention to him as he packed up and left.

The real story behind this event? It was part of a social experiment by the Washington Post newspaper, for which the publication won a Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

The violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This experiment raises several questions one of which we could ask ourselves today: In a commonplace environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

As Facebook site Wedding Live Band – the Raw Note's asked: "If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made...How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?"

Stop reading and think about that for a minute.

I was thinking about this question the other day when a visitor to Whistler began to have a heated discussion with a barista about how long it was taking to get his coffee. At the time people were milling around chatting and smiling, another clerk was fixing some Christmas decorations, a child was doing an excellent impression of an imp as he tried to weasel a hand into a large bag from the local toy store — everyone was feeling the Christmas spirit.

But that all changed in the second it took for the customer to vent.

Christmas can be a stressful time — we've all seen the suicide stats. But here is the thing — we are all in this together, especially in Whistler.

So residents let's remember all the things we have to be grateful for — not least of which are the visitors who are coming here.

And visitors remember that many of those making your Christmas special are missing the holidays with their families so they can help yours.

For my part I hope to take some of my own advice, take a break from the rat race for Christmas Day and embrace family and friends.

Happy Holidays!