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

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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