The high-five meme – and its new meaning for Twixtmas

Imagine you are a Martian and you are watching humans behave.

You will probably note how, in human society, certain physical actions are used to create a non-verbal message: if, for example, you are happy with a performance you do a repeated motion of smacking the palms of your hand together to create a noise.

One comparatively recent physical-gesture-that-also-denotes-a-message is what is know as the ‘High Five’.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the ‘High-Five’ as a noun describing a gesture of celebration or greeting in which two people slap each other’s palms, usually with their arms extended over their heads and also as a verb meaning to greet a person in this way.

The High-Five is also a meme: a self-replicating message that virally spreads.

As far as I can tell, there has never been a High-Five Marketing Promotion Board: the message has spread of its own volition.

Believed to have originated in the 1980’s, from either American Basketball or in African-American urban culture as a greeting – or a symbiotic fusion of the two, I was pleasantly surprised by its prevalent use elsewhere; watching tennis doubles, it seems no good shot goes unacknowledged by the pair without its High-Five variant.

Although the High-Five grew in popularity through the 1980s leading to being included in dictionaries and the popular vernacular, there has been a High-Five backlash perhaps regarding it as non-cool.

The High-Five can be either used as an ironic, self-deprecating gesture, or still simply as a gesture of celebration and saying ‘well done’.

But can we give new meaning and impetus to the ‘High-Five meme’ by making it a gesture for the Twixtmas celebrations?

The 5 days of Twixtmas – between the Christmas and New Year holidays where everyone is encouraged to do 5 good things to make the world a better place – you could give someone a High-Five accompanied by saying ‘Have a good Twixtmas’.

Have a go, here are the instructions:

  1. Hold your hand out
  2. Gently smack the palm of a friend, colleague, or family
  3. Say ‘Have a good Twixtmas’. 

If the ‘Twixtmas High-Five’ is not your style, you can still send a Twixtmas e greeting via the Twixtmas campaign web site,

Have a good Twixtmas and make sure you share the Twixtmas feeling and spread the word.

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