My full-time job this summer was babysitting. As exhausting as it could sometimes be, it was one of the most fulfilling summers I've ever had. Aside from doing grown-up things like living on my own and paying rent and other fun bills, I learned a lot from the kids I spent time with.
One family, in particular, has really impacted my life, and I'm so thankful for them. They've shown me so much kindness and welcomed me into their family as their own. They've helped me in my career and always encouraged me to follow my heart and my passion.
When I was driving their daughter to school one morning recently, we talked about Christmas. We talked about how much we love Christmas and our favorite Christmas songs and traditions. All the best things Christmas has to offer.
Then we got into the topic of why some people get sad around the holidays. She asked me if I knew why people could get sad around such a great holiday. And immediately my stomach dropped at having to talk about a sensitive topic.
I asked her if she remembered a significant moment, which she did, and I told her that sometimes if something sad happens to a person around Christmas they'll remember it for years to come and the holiday reminds them of that sad thing. Or they remember the past and wish it was still like their life used to be.
She empathized with this response and said "Oh, I get it now. That is sad, I wish they could still enjoy the holiday"
We have so much to learn from kids. Things are so simple in the mind of a child. And it reminded me to be thankful this Christmas. And also to be more empathetic and remember that not everyone is so fond of this season.
I absolutely adore Christmas. It's my favorite time of year and all my decorations go up November 1st. I love having something to celebrate and festive activities to do with friends and family. I love that Jesus came down to earth as a baby to save us. An innocent child who was the greatest gift of all and the ultimate reminder of what Christmas is really about.
But I forget how lucky I am. I'm blessed to have both of my parents. I'm blessed to have my brother. I'm blessed to have my boyfriend and his sweet family. I'm blessed to have friends to exchange gifts with. I don't get seasonally depressed around Christmas or get sad and remember the "better days". I'm sure it will come with time, but for right now I still have the spirit of a child around Christmas time.
Amidst all the chaos that is Christmas, I need to remember how incredibly blessed I am. And remember to check up on my friends, not to say Merry Christmas, but to ask how they are doing. Because this season is HARD for so many people. But they often get overlooked because the rest of us are stuck in our holly jolly bubble.
Spread joy, but also spread hope and love. Spread hope to those who are hurting. And love to those who are lonely. Take a step back from the stress of rushing to the post office to mail gifts on time, and be thankful that you have people to send gifts to. When you're upset with your family for not being on time for Christmas dinner, but thankful you have the family to eat with.
Hang your decorations, play your Christmas music, decorate your gingerbread men. But most importantly love the ones around you, love the strangers around you, and be thankful.