Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH!
First and foremost, I hope everyone is enjoying TNTHmas thus far; I really can’t believe that we are halfway done with it! Honestly, it does not feel like Christmas is only six days away, and there’s a valid reason why for me, it doesn’t feel like Christmas.
Now, this isn’t me being a Humbag of some sorts; I very much do enjoy the atmosphere of the holiday spirit. I love having Christmas decorations up in my apartment, I enjoy looking at the lit houses at night, and I’m a sucker for Christmas music! Around this time every year, I am wrapping up gifts and putting them under my tree to open them on Christmas Eve, and like the overgrown child I am, I get excited o see all the neat stuff my family gifted to me. This year, though, that’s not happening. Actually, my family and I aren’t celebrating Christmas this year the way we usually do.
2018, to say the least, has been very rough for not just my immediate family, but for my extended family as well. in April, my cousins lost their grandfather on my uncle’s side, and in July, my sister and I lost our grandfather on my mother’s side. My aunt’s family, my family, and especially my grandmother lost a lot this year. The holiday season is especially hard for all sides due to these losses that we had over the year. Also, on top of that, my family recently had a couple of health scares, which left us busy occupied on being there for them in their time of need. So, in the most simple way possible: celebrating Christmas this year just doesn’t feel completely right, and I understand it.
Not celebrating it with gifts and the stress that the holidays carry is teaching me that honestly, Christmas isn’t about all of that. It’s not about buying gifts and wrapping them and stressing out about the quality of your gift. It’s not about buying things on sale and having a million boxes arrive at your doorstep in hopes that it’s before Christmas. The holidays have become just this big pile of consumer bullshit that society has fallen under, which makes the holidays more stressful than enjoyable most of the time.
What I’m learning as an adult that the holidays are a hard time financially and mentally, and gift-giving doesn’t equal “love” in any type of way. Once the anxiety of buying and wrapping gifts is over, that stress of Christmas is gone until the following year. I never hear any more just how thankful people just are to be able to see their family at the end of the year during the holidays. After losing someone in my family consecutively every year for the past three, I realize that it’s a blessing if you’re able to see your family make it through another whole year together. I realize that as long as you get to spend the holidays with your family, that’s just an accomplishment all on its own.
I know this may sound completely cheesy and overly dramatic, but you have to understand that some people’s stories aren’t like everyone else’s. Some people don’t get the pleasure of being with their families during the holidays. Some people don’t have families to see during the holidays. Some kids don’t get the pleasure of believing in a Santa Claus because there are no gifts under their trees on Christmas morning. Sometimes, these things really can happen to anyone. This time last year, I didn’t know something like this would happen to our family.
So yes, while the whole act of gift-giving and being happy to see your loved ones adore the gifts you got them, remember that that’s just a small portion of what the holidays represent. Remember that the holidays are for you and the people you love most in life, whether that be friends, family, partners, etc. The people in your life are some of the greatest gifts you’ll have in life. Trust me.