It seems like just yesterday, the holiday ads began streaming across television screens, smartphones, tablets, and computer screens. We heard about the blowout sales on Black Friday and every subsequent "Biggest Sale of the Year." Now it's after Christmas and the hustle and bustle have quieted while Christmas lights still glimmer in the night light.
Since becoming an adult I have not been a huge fan of the holidays. It's too much hype, too many people buying unnecessary, cheesy items, and too many things being valued and people devalued. Although I purchased gifts for coworkers, my closest family members and a couple friends, seeing all of the gluttony and superficial wonder has made me a bit of a grinch. However, in the past few weeks, I have become grateful for the intangible things in my life. The things that are unexpected and carry so much weight in the human experience.
For me, there are five things that can make a grinch love the holidays.
1. Getting to know people better.
Whether it's at work, school, church, or another organization, you have the opportunity to spend quality time with people that you may not have otherwise. If there is a gift exchange, that can reveal facts about the person like their love of reading, photography, or baking. The holidays gives us space to open up and be accepted with warmth and love. No one wants to give or get coal in their stockings.
2. An acceptable reason to overeat.
Ugly sweater parties, brunches, dinners, parties. There is food almost everywhere during the holidays. And it's impolite not to eat it. Sally made cookies? Eat them! Eggnog making contest? Go, drink! Being conservative on the sweets and starches throughout the year is highly commendable. But during the holidays, relax a bit and indulge. No need to be an uptight grinch. Be merry!
3. Helping others.
As one of the fortunate people on this earth, I have noticed how far the smallest gesture can go. For those who do not have, opening your home, heart, and resources means everything. Some people do no have many family or close friends. So the time spent is extremely valuable. Also, raising money and donating to worthy and charitable causes can be the only thing that makes Christmas possible for families. If it were you, you'd want help. Give a little.
4. Appreciating the past.
I remember opening up the latest barbie dolls, Disney themed toys, and pretty clothes as a kid. My brother and I had great Christmases. Waking up early, running downstairs in PJs just to spend maybe 10 minutes ripping the wrapping paper clean off the gifts. It was great. It was the 90s. And I'm so happy to have those memories. They will forever be close to me so long my mind is capable of retrieving them. When I hear people complaining and being ungrateful, I revisit those times and become even more appreciative of what I have.
My paternal grandmother is 98. Yep, she's had 98 Christmases. Many do not see half of that. My brother was born on Christmas. He is my mother's first child, perhaps her greatest gift after believing she would never birth her own children. Some years are very low key, just a few friends, some family. Others are more lively. Either way, the time spent with family, all seated on the comfy leather couch in front of the TV, or at the dinner table is priceless. The words exchanged, the hugs, kisses, smiles. It's honestly the reason for the season. How could you not want that?
I'm slowly coming around on Christmas. I still see it mainly as a day off. But every now and then, I think of these things and my spirit lights up a little.