The Holidays Have Changed For Me As I've Gotten Older

Whether I Like It Or Not, Christmas Doesn't Feel The Same As It Did When I Was Younger

The biggest difference between Christmas as a child and now is the people I've lost along the way.

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As a child, the holiday season truly was the most wonderful time of the year. My family decorated our little artificial tree together, we all wore matching Christmas shirts made by my grandmother, and we'd send out holiday cards for all of our friends and family to see how my sister and I had matured. These things along with so much more were traditions which I had imagined I'd do with my children one day.

Family is what puts the joy in Christmas. No matter how busy our schedules were, the holidays were when we always found time to be together. All of the grandchildren would play games, from kickball to boardgames or something we just made up. After eating to our stomach's maximum capacity, we'd just sit on the couch watching television, but that was still enjoyable because we were all together.

The magic of Christmas didn't disappear after finding out Santa was merely a myth; it slowly dwindled as us grandchildren grew old and the traditions started to fade. Suddenly, people were too busy to decorate the tree and wanted to wear a fancy blouse instead of the sweater grandma made. Toys on our lists became clothes or makeup and we'd attempt to make new traditions which never caught on the way the older ones did.

The biggest difference between Christmas as a child and now is the people I've lost along the way. Christmas Eve was always supposed to be at my paternal grandmother's house. We'd have garbage bags filled with presents, read "The Night Before Christmas," and Santa would make a guest appearance. When my grandmother passed away, these traditions faded and we'd wait until weeks after Christmas to even exchange presents and celebrate with this side of the family.

My last Christmas as the child who believed in Christmas miracles was in 2012. On Christmas Day, we brought my grandfather home from the hospital, which was my only wish that year. When shopping at Macy's, they had a box for children to place the item that was on the top of their Christmas list, and I remember writing that I wanted my grandfather home to celebrate with us.

In February of 2013, my grandfather passed away and the holidays were never the same. Seeing his spot at the head of the table empty every year breaks my heart and I wish for one more Christmas where he'd beg to play with whatever gadget I received as a gift.

When Christmas music comes on the radio, I still get excited knowing it's that time of year, but I'm aware it'll never be like what it was when I was younger. I'll always have the memories and pictures from past Christmases and hopefully one day we'll be able to have more just like those as long as we can channel our inner child.

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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I'm Keeping My Christmas Tree Up All Winter And There's Nothing You Can Do About It

It's the WINTER Season... ;-)

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I think that my tree would not be considered Christmas-y if the ornaments are taken off and the lights are kept on. I think to just looks wintry. I am also keeping up decorations that say "let it snow", and I am keeping up any snowman without holly berries or presents in their hands.

The tree looks wintry in my opinion. It looks pretty with the lights and brings the room together. It gives off a warm ambiance, unlike that of fluorescent lighting.

I've taken all ornaments off except for gold snowflakes and I've left the silver tinsel garland on as well as the lights. It looks wintry to me still. I will probably be taking the whole tree down by the end of this month to prepare for Valentine's Day decorating. (Yes, I pretty much decorate my apartment for every holiday—sue me).

There's nothing like coming downstairs and seeing those lights sparkling.

Or coming inside from a dreary, rainy day outside and seeing them light up the room in a calm, warm, and comforting glow.

Or having a bad day, looking up, and seeing them shine.

It sort of makes me upset when I come downstairs and see that someone has unplugged them, to be honest.

I guess they don't see it as I do.

Pretty, twinkling lights forever!

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