Please Stop Asking Me 'What Did Santa Bring You?'

Please Stop Asking Me 'What Did Santa Bring You?'

The holidays are about so much more than gifts and I'm tired of talking about material items.
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The holiday season is a time full of hustle and bustle for everyone. Between parties and events it seems like time never stops. After it all ends, the question everyone seems to ask is "What did Santa bring you?"

Yes, it is so nice to receive gifts from the ones that we love & even nicer to give gifts to those people. But is that really all we want to remember from the holiday season? Obviously, sharing the gifts that were given to us is a fun conversation that can be truly positive but what about the things that matter a little more than material items? As this holiday season comes to a close, we should remember that these weeks are about who we are with and the memories we make. The most important part of the holidays is the experiences we have with those we love. Instead of asking what gifts someone received, instead try asking a few of these!

What was the best memory that you made?

Why does it matter that my mom bought me a watch or my sister gave me a necklace? These things are nice but I’d rather remember my mom’s smile when she watched all her kids eat breakfast together for the first time in months or my sister’s laugh when I jumped on the bed to get her up.

What is your favorite Holiday tradition?

Baking and decorating Christmas cookies with all of my siblings and seeing who can make the funniest cookie will always outweigh the materialistic things they gave me.

If you could live inside any Holiday movie which one would it be?

This question will start an amazing and fun conversation and will allow you to learn a lot about the person you are talking to! (I would obviously choose to live in the movie the Grinch because Who's just seem like really nice people)

The most important thing to remember is that the holiday's are about who you are with and not what you receive. My Christmas was filled with joy and love and a family that laughs together no matter the circumstances. The happiest moments aren’t because of material items. My happiest moments are because of the genuinely beautiful people in my life & I wouldn’t change a thing.

Cover Image Credit: Mark Rabe

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10 Reasons Why My Mom Is My Hero

She's also my best friend.
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My mom is pretty darn special. And I'd be kidding myself to say that I tell her enough how much I appreciate her. There aren't enough breaths in the day to thank her for all that she has done for me, and all that she will do for me. So this is for my momma, these are just a few of the reasons why I think she's pretty great.

1. I can talk to her about anything.

I know for a fact that no matter the issue and no matter the story, my mom will listen to the entire thing with nothing but compassion in her heart. I don't ever need to wonder if she will judge me because I know for a fact that she never will.

2. She gives the best hugs.

I don't care if I saw her yesterday or if I've been away for three months; my mom will always hug me like she hasn't seen me in years, and there isn't a better feeling in the world.

3. I have never met a more selfless person.

She has such a heart for others and I am constantly blown away by her devotion and passion for serving those around her. If I (or anyone else) needs anything, my mom is the first one to jump up, drop everything, and run to help. If I have half as much generosity as my mom someday, I know that I would be making a huge difference.

4. I am inspired by her.

Always.

5. She cares so much for me.

I know that no matter how old I grow to be, and how mature I may become, my mom will always be there for me. She will always be waiting with open arms to either congratulate me or console me. I have never felt more loved by any other human than I do by my mom.

6. She loves me unconditionally.

I will never ever need to worry that she will stop loving me. No matter the circumstances, no matter the phase of life that I'm in, my mom will always be there for me, loving me every step of the way.

7. She is my number one cheerleader.

I don't think I will every meet another person more dedicated to my success and ready to celebrate my accomplishments than my mom. She is hands-down my biggest supporter and will always be standing at the finish line of whatever race I may be running. I could be crawling across that finish line and she'd still be cheering for me the whole way.

8. I can always count on her to point me in the right direction.

My mom will pray for me. She'll encourage me. She will lead by example and through the counseling that she is always ready to provide. I know that I can always count on her to push me in the direction of my dreams.

9. She has the best laugh.

I could pick my mom's laugh out of a crowd of hundreds. Her ability to laugh at herself (and at her own cheesy jokes) are part of what makes her so amazing. But the sound of my mom's laugh has the capability to make anyone's day, including mine.

10. I never stop learning from her.

See points 1-9.


Mom, you are such an amazing woman, and there is simply no way that I could put it into words. So I'll simply say thank you. Thank you for all that you do for me, day-in and day out. Thank you for loving me, and showing me what it means to live like Jesus and everything else that you do. I hope that one day my daughter might love me as much as I love you.

Love,

Me

Cover Image Credit: Ashley Burton

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My Grandpa Is The Person Who Motivates Me To Achieve My Aspirations

He's just the best.

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From an early age, I was forced to explore my passions independently as my mother was never satisfied with anything I wanted to pursue. I had always wanted to enroll into taekwondo, but my mom thought it was not suitable for a girl of my age, so she chose ballet for me instead. I had always enjoyed watching other kids play soccer, so I wanted to experience the team. However, my mom thought that it was too rough of a sport for a girl and chose swim for me instead. I had always wanted to play an instrument and cello was what caught my ear with its soothing deep melody. However, my mom deemed the position in which we play the instrument as "unladylike." Utterly absorbed in her traditional values, my mom refused to let me pursue my own interests.

The one thing she forced me into that grew into a passion was swimming. But even as I started, it was hard to continue because all she ever did was bark at me to swim laps, even though she did not know how to swim herself. However, I pushed through years of criticism and started coaching kids as a job experience. I am careful when instructing the kids at swim because I want them to come to lessons, ready and eager to enjoy swim, not dread it.

After years of her disapproving of my interests, her objections only made me want to pursue more. Every time I'd learn a new interest, my grandpa was supportive. I wasn't the best ballet dancer since I had no balance, but he was patient and held my hand as I walked the beam. I wasn't the fastest swimmer and had just learned how, but he offered to help me float even though he couldn't swim. I wasn't the strongest kicker on the field, but he'd take me out to the park to kick around a beach ball. Sometimes, I'd play nonsense on the piano because I was bored, but he'd still praise me, whereas my mom only scolded my incompetency with frustration. She could never let herself allow me to be happy with my own interests.

My grandpa plays a significant role in my life. He stands as a role model and his life motivates me to achieve my aspirations. Despite our language barrier, I have the strongest connection with him. Ever since I was little, my grandparents were the ones who watched over me rather than my parents. I am glad I got to make so many memories with my grandpa. For as long as I can remember, I'd always pull him to take me on this 2-mile walk to the mall, and since he has never seen an escalator before, we'd go up and down for hours. Then, on the way back, I'd always get tired, and he'd carry me all the way home. When I got through middle school, he was so happy for me for it was rare back in his hometown for kids to even make it to middle school. When I got into college, he cried with joy even though he had no clue where and what University of Michigan or Emory was. When I graduated from high school, he asked me to use my phone and wanted to call every one of his friends even though he couldn't remember most of their numbers.

When I was in 8th grade, he started fainting spontaneously and was hospitalized frequently. The scariest times were when the doctors notified us that he had to have surgery. Helplessly, I waited for further notice from the doctors who worked hard to heal him. Even though I was not a particularly religious person, I always prayed for a smooth operation. After all that he has done for me, I could only wish for him to get better. These doctors saved my grandpa's life countless times and granted him more time with our family. My grandpa sees so much substance in creativity and love and values it much more than money or any material. Seeing this positivity radiate from my hapless grandpa motivates me. His strength through every surgery inspires me. Thanks to him, I was able to explore my interests and be inspired to reach for success.

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