A Love Letter to the Holidays

A Love Letter to the Holidays

It's never too early to talk about the most wonderful time of the year.

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Dear holidays,

Every year during the early weeks of November, you slowly begin to endure a lingering presence in my mind, though never to my dismay. The impression you've left on me from years past has evolved into an increased appreciation for the contentment you bring me whenever you arrive.

I greatly appreciate the genuinely positive and delightful spirit you impose on me through your arrival. I look forward to you because you radiate a vibe that is so comforting and elated that it saddens me when you suddenly disappear after the new year.

I'd like to thank you for the traditions you've formed in my family over the years. The season wouldn't appear nearly as memorable without our favorite holiday movie, the board game we play solely during the winter and the list of CD's we constantly shuffle on our 90's vintage stereo for two months straight.

And while we're on the topic of CD's, your music is nothing short of heart-warming and never fails to propel me into the seasonal spirit. Nothing absolves my mind of all worries like driving through a snow-covered northeastern Pennsylvania with a highly-select holiday playlist (mainly Michael Bublé's 2012 Christmas album, though, if we're being honest).

I love you for eliciting family gatherings that tend to relieve the inevitable family-oriented drama, even if only for a moment. The laughs and smiles throughout this time are genuine and real, and I hold them close to my heart with each passing moment.

Your style is so memorable, with decorations being a true staple of your demeanor. Decking my home with countless candles, lights, and other holiday trinkets set the cozy mood I most look forward to all year long.

For as long as I can remember, you have been my most beloved time of year. You highlight the best in people by enriching the goodness that can always be found in our society, though it may sometimes fade to what seems like nothing. Although you have been somewhat commercialized and your meaning has been significantly altered over some time, I do my best to remember who you are aside from the shopping, gifts and stresses that our society has imposed upon you.

Anyway, as I write you this letter, while admittedly listening to Michael Bublé serenade me with his top-notch rendition of "All I Want For Christmas Is You," I can sense you creeping into my mind and permeating me with excitement for the months to come. And I have no problem with how early it may seem.

With love and gratitude,

Cameron

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17 Signs You Grew Up Irish

Irish and proud!
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With a name like Shannon Elizabeth Ryan many people right away sarcastically ask the question "you're not Irish are you?" I always laugh and jokingly say nope not at all. I'm extremely proud of my Irish heritage, but what does it mean to be Irish?

Here are 17 signs you grew up Irish:

1. You have a distinct Irish name: first or last

Shannon, Elizabeth, Michael, Patrick, Sean, James, Ryan, Riley, Mahony, Murphy. Extra points if your last name begins with O', Mac or Mc.

2. You have been called a "potato head" or towhead as a child

Shannon Ryan

"What a bunch or potato heads!" Meaning you were really Irish or really blonde or both.

3. You were raised Catholic

Shannon Ryan

Catholic school, mass every Sunday. Oh and you were most likely an alter server or in the choir and can say the mass forward and backwards.

4. You have a love for potatoes of any kind.

Also, you may have read this book about a potato as a child.

5. You've been told, "Oh, you're Irish, you can hold your drinks."

Giphy

I mean it's in your blood, right?

6. Funeral, wedding, birthday you really can't tell the difference

Wedding? Get the whiskey. Oh, you said funeral?

... get the whiskey.

7. You know old Irish Songs and sing along with every note

"The Streets of New York," "Black Velvet Band," "Wild Rover," "Molly Malone," "Galway Girl," "Danny Boy," tell me ma all songs I remember being singing along with as a kid.

8. Your favorite holiday is St. Patrick's Day and you go all out

A day to show the world that there are only two types of people in the world: those who are Irish and those that wish they were.

9. You own a Celtic cross, Claddagh ring or any Irish knot jewelry and wear it often

You were most likely given that Celtic cross when you were born and got one for your First Holy Communion. The Claddagh was given by someone who loves you and Irish knots you can never go wrong with.

10. Two words: "soda" and "bread"

Some don't know that the cross made on the top of bread is to keep the devil away and protect the house.

11. You have a HUGE family and the parties and reunions that go along with it are just as big

My family is enormous and this is only half of it and I still don't know everyone.

12. There is no such thing as tanning

Unless you ware one of the blessed ones who do tan I'm extremely jealous. For the rest of us, we have two options pale or red there is no in-between.

13. You may not have the cleanest mouth or quietest voice

But you would never dare say a bad word in front of someone older than you. As for an indoor voice, it's non-existent.

14. You can successfully pull off an “Irish Exit" and then have to explain to your friends the next day what exactly that is when they ask where you went

Basically means you leave the party without anyone knowing.

15. At one point in your life, you've said, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph" if something went wrong

I heard this a lot growing up and I catch myself saying it every now and again.

16. The only college football team you root for is Notre Dame

I mean is there any other, Let's Go Fighting Irish!

17. Lastly, you are extremely proud of your Irish heritage

We are Irish. We are taught to be strong, have faith in God and learn how to party and have fun. Erin Go Bragh!

Cover Image Credit: kingofwallpapers.com

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As I Get Older, I Care Less And Less About My Birthday

It doesn't hold the same meaning as it did when I was younger.

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Every year people celebrate their birthday. It's an exciting day for most as you get some gifts and cake and spend it with friends and family. I used to love my birthday. I loved that on that one day, the spotlight was on me. People had to care about me. As I've gotten older though, I found myself caring less and less about my birthday. It's not a day I get excited about.

I've always had a love/hate relationship with my birthday anyway, given that it's on Valentine's Day. So I've always had to share my birthday with all that love and people wanting to spend it with their partner. I believe that the dislike side has grown as well because as I get older and my friends get older, they are all finding someone to be with or starting a family. Therefore, they have someone they want to spend the day with. They want to celebrate with them, not me. I've always had to battle Valentine's Day.

I believe that once you've hit a lot of major milestone birthdays (i.e first, 16th, 18th, 21st) there isn't much to look forward to. It's just another year added to your life.

You realize more and more that you're just getting older.

I'm generally a simple person as well. I don't want a huge party, I don't want fancy gifts, and I really hate people singing to me. I like having the attention, but hate it at the same time. It's a weird feeling to explain. You want to be loved, but don't want it all at once. I don't want all eyes on me.

Of course, there will always be certain parts of my birthday that I really like and do look forward to. My mom gets me the heart-shaped donuts from Dunkin' every year on my birthday. She never forgets because I don't give her the chance to. I always remind her. I do like the fact that I can ask for something, and more often than not get it because it's my birthday.

I don't mean like big gifts either. I mean that I can ask that we have what I want for dinner. That I can ask my mom to spend some one on one time with me. Simple things that I don't usually get.

I don't hate my birthday, I just don't feel as much excitement as I did growing up. It's just another day of the year.

There's just too much effort you have to put into your birthday as you grow older as well. You usually have to plan something yourself, which I don't want to do. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do because I don't want a party and there isn't anything special I ever wish to do. Even if I did want to plan a party inviting people would be a nightmare and trying to make it work for different people is a hassle.

I just think that as you get older, birthday's just aren't worth the trouble.

So, I've accepted the fact that I just don't care. I will enjoy the little things about it, but I won't make a big fuss. It's just another day.

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