When I was a child, I was just as obsessed with and excited about receiving gifts for Christmas as anyone else. I would wake up insanely early and annoy my parents until they woke up, running to the tree with the speed of a hungry cheetah. How many items from my list had I received? How many unexpected yet exciting gifts had I received? My excitement on Christmas mostly revolved around the idea of obtaining more objects.

However, now that I am older, I have come to realize that material possessions are arbitrary; the things that matter on Christmas (and in life in general) are our relationships with others and the positivity we are able to inspire. For me, Christmas is not about religion either, but I believe there are still plenty of reasons to celebrate the holiday. I find happiness in the small traditions my family has. Christmas is a day to gather with family and enjoy the simple things, such as a home-cooked meal or the joy of putting up decorations.

Sure, I still buy people presents. Now that I'm older and have a job, I like to get my parents something small as a way of thanking them for years of emptying their wallets for me throughout my childhood. And if I know that someone is going to get me something, I feel slightly obligated to buy them something as well. But I think gift exchanging is just an aside, unnecessary yet also a thing people like to do. As for receiving gifts, I am not concerned with that. I don't spend weeks planning out my Christmas list like I used to, and it feels liberating. I couldn't think of anything I wanted for Christmas this year. I wouldn't care if I did not receive any gifts. It's about so much more than that.