When I was a little girl, I would look forward to nothing more than the holiday season. I loved the snow (up until I learned it could get me a broken leg two days before Christmas) the decorations, the music, the sheer joy that seemed to be radiating off everything and everyone.
To me, Christmas was a time to be happy continuously starting with the day after Thanksgiving all the way up until the New Year. How could I not feel this way as a child? I had time off of school, new toys to play with, and my house looked like something out of a storybook with all the decorations. I had no reasons to be unhappy; the only other emotion I could feel was grateful.
But this feeling started to subside as the years passed. My Christmas list no longer consisted of toys that would entertain me for hours on end and started filling with gift cards or money in general. I had more to worry about like school and finding a job and how I could afford gifts for all my friends and family. Life had gotten harder and not even the joys that I had once found in the Christmas season could distract from it. The natural stressors that life brought upon me could never be forgotten, and I finally understood why my parents had seemed so stressed while I ogled in awe at the beautiful wonderland that surrounded me, oblivious to adult life ahead of me.
The Christmas lists had shrunk to all but a shrug and “I don’t know” when asked. I stopped finding it fun to go play in the snow. I had developed that terrible attitude of “I’m too good for all this little kid stuff” because Christmas as far as I could tell was a children’s holiday. It was designed to entertain kids with its myths and legends and stories and adults had to go through the motions each year to keep it that way. It became commercial, not the magical time of year I once thought it was.
Something changed when I went to college though. It was the place I had last expected to rekindle my love of Christmas, but it’s hard not to when you go to my school.
Lights are placed on every tree and bush and anywhere else they can fit; every building and dining hall are filled with a plethora of vintage decorations; we have a giant Christmas tree in the center of campus. Professors, staff, and anyone else you might run into on campus are filled with Christmas cheer, and never fail to express it. We have a whole event called “Christmas on Campus” where we bring in kids from the surrounding schools in the community and show them around our own personal Christmas wonderland.
In this place where I thought that all those adult worries I had come to know would be most prevalent, they seemed to be erased momentarily. I did not think about the exam the following week or the job application deadline that approached or how I would possibly get everyone’s Christmas gift with only one week until the holiday.
All my worries disappeared and the only thing I could focus on was the Christmas spirit that all these adults and my peers were exhibiting. And it made me think: If they can feel this way, why can’t I?
We all have our stressors, especially during the holidays as semesters come to a close, we need to ask for time off from our jobs, holiday plans become more pressing, and life just seems like it needs a built-in pause button for a moment. But that should not stop us from seeing Christmastime through new eyes - or rather the eyes we once saw it through.
We should continue to look at Christmas as if we were still kids because, let’s be honest – kids have the most fun during the holiday season. They are adventurous, imaginative, positive, and most importantly, they are wholeheartedly themselves. Pushing our worries aside and looking at life with a child’s perspective can give us a chance to relax, take a breather, feel as though life does have that pause button. And what a better time to have that outlook than the most magical time of year for a child: Christmas.
Look at the snow as something that is beautiful, not a deterrent on your commute to work. Pick out that gift not because it has the best price, but because you know that when someone receives it, they will be filled with joy. Get off your phone; stop worrying about emails or what is happening on Instagram (those endless pictures of Christmas trees can’t be all that entertaining, can they?) and suggest starting up Christmas game night.
When you look at the world like a kid, you realize that life is a lot more beautiful and a lot less stressful than we all typically believe it to be.