There are few things that make me feel the way I did as a child on Christmas Eve. As a little kid, it was necessary for me to run around as much as I could the day before in order to be able to sleep at all. With the first hint of consciousness (usually around 5 a.m.), my eyes would fly open and I would watch my bedside clock until it finally reached 6:30, at which time my brother and I would rush to our parents room and jump on them until they gave into the urgency of heading downstairs to start opening presents.
As you grow older, you begin to experience the “Christmas spirit” in a different way. Instead of counting down the days until Christmas starting Dec. 1, you are caught off guard when someone says that Christmas is only a week away. Your older self doesn’t necessarily become the Grinch, but the excitement that takes over your every thought slowly dims.
Now, as a college student, I feel like I experience Christmas in a more wholesome way. First of all, I spend more time with my family over this break than I do for the rest of the year. With summer internships and summer school becoming realities, winter break is the only time when I have nothing to do besides hang out with the fam. Second, Christmas really does become less about presents. Because I am now old enough that I don’t want a thousand Barbie dream houses or Polly Pockets, I can truly appreciate the gifts my parents give me, because they are usually things I truly need. Another perk is that I’m old enough to return the favor and get my parents presents that I’ve thoughtfully picked out, instead of it just being a one way street. Christmas is one of the most joyful seasons of the year, and while I don’t experience the same maniacally happy excitement over presents that I did as a kid, I get excited about different things — things that matter a lot more.