What do the holidays mean to you?

What Do The Holidays Mean To You?

I decided to do a survey about the holidays and asked 3 different questions. I had so many responses it was hard to choose which to add in this article! Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey!

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The top 5 favorite holiday activities were...

1. Holiday parties with friends and family

2. Spending time with relatives

3. Looking at Christmas lights

4. Decorating the house for the holidays.

5. White Elephant Exchange or Secret Santa

What are your favorite traditions with your friends and family?

"My favorite holiday tradition is decorating the Christmas tree with the kids, watching a LOT of Christmas movies with my family, baking cookies, going to see the Christmas lights around town."

"Love spending Christmas Eve with my family, we go to Chinatown for dinner every year in Downtown LA, and have made it a tradition with our close family friends."

"I love going over to my family member's houses and making meals and eating together. We usually will sit around and talk and play games which is great. If you are old enough, we usually try out new holiday alcoholic beverages too."

"On Christmas Eve, my mom gets a loaf of sourdough bread and cuts it a special way and puts cheese on top and bakes it. It's super yummy and always great to share as a family."

"Every year as a family we decorate the tree and my mom goes through each of our ornaments and when we got them. It's like a timeline of my past!"

"We do Christmas Eve boxes, and we get pajamas, cocoa, a mug, and a Christmas movie inside of it. Then, we make the hot cocoa, put on the PJs, and watch the Christmas movies together."

"I always love my friend's secret Santa and white elephant gift exchanges!"

"My boyfriend and I always do a "12 dates of Christmas."

How connected do you feel around those around you during the holidays?

"I feel like Christmas brings people together. Once, when my dad and I were out grocery shopping, this random stranger helped us get all of our bags into our car when he saw how much we had, and all he said when we thanked him was "Merry Christmas"."

"I feel very connected to people around me around the holidays. My extended family doesn't really get together very often, but we always do on holidays, and it is just like we picked up where we have left off."

"Everyone always seems to have a smile on their face, the season of "joy" is reflected on everyone. I wish the entire year could be filled with this "joy" that the holidays bring but then it wouldn't be as special."

"I feel extremely connected! It's the season that puts everyone in a giving and loving mood. It reminds me of how appreciative I am of everything I have."

"I feel so at home being with my family and friends during the holiday season, it brings me back to my childhood."

"I feel really connected because it's a special time of the year to spend with your friends and family."

Why do you think the holidays are important?

"I think the holidays are important because it feels like everyone can forget about their differences and just enjoy the time together and be grateful for what that have."

"It's a good time to reconnect if connections are lost throughout the year and to remind your family how loved they are."

"Even if you don't see your family for most of the year you can usually depend on the holidays as the one or two times per year that you will get the opportunity. Sometimes that is good and sometimes it is bad depending on your family but it keeps a connection going."

"The holidays are a time to come together with friends and family and celebrate your blessings. It's important to take time to do that. Religious holidays are important because they are a time to reflect on your beliefs and grow deeper in them."

"To celebrate the Lord Jesus Christ and to spend time with your loved ones. To also forget all of the bad things going on in the world around you for a short while and focus on all of the fun, beauty, and joy of this time of year."

"First and foremost for me, it's about celebrating the true reason behind the holiday - the birth of Jesus. It's also a time to show the ones you love how much they mean to you, whether that is giving your time, visiting, giving a gift, or sending a card. Making memories and traditions with your children that will go on to their own families one day."

"The holidays are important because they give hope. To small children and even to adults it means hope for happiness, hope for a break, hope for family."

"When we're all going around living our lives, we might be hundreds of miles from our nearest family member, but we always come back together every year and enjoy each other's company like no time has passed at all. The holidays remind us that we still have a family and people who love us in this world, even if we don't see them every day. They remind us of what love feels like."

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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The Struggle of Taking Classes During the Summer

It can put a bit of a damper on summer fun

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To everyone reading: I hope you're having a nice, relaxing summer. Even if you're working I hope you can get a few days off to hang out with friends, go to the beach, and have some nice downtime. Not me. I am currently in the process of completing two four-week long summer classes. I'm taking them now to get ahead for next semester and to keep my overall schedule on track. It certainly isn't fun, but the reminder that it is only four weeks is what really keeps me going. If you are in the same boat as me, you'll relate to this list like no one else can; if you're not taking summer classes, don't let this list scare you, but use it to mentally prepare yourself for any you may have in the future.

1. Studying and homework

The homework isn't too bad with some summer classes just because you don't have time for a lot of intense projects. Still, since the class is so short you have to do some kind of homework pretty much every day. Make a schedule and spread it out so you don't get too behind.

2. Actually going to class

I am in two classes. One meets in person every day from 10 am to 11:45 am. The other is online. Let me be the first to say that getting up for class during the normal semesters is hard enough, but knowing my little brother gets to sleep in while I have to wake up early and go class is a real motivation suppressant.

I will say, though, it's kind of nice being on campus when it's basically empty.

3. No going out...

You'll probably be a little down because you might not be able to really go out at all during the time you're in class. For me, I go to lecture every morning, come home and do homework for that class, then do homework for my online class. I have some free time on the weekends, but I try to use those lecture-free days to study or work on papers.

4. But being super busy

Even though you might not be able to go out like a summer off, you'll be keeping yourself busy with all that super fun homework I mentioned.

5. Stress

Yes, summer classes can be a little stressful and it's pretty much all thanks to how fast-paced they are. Just do what I do: make a homework and project schedule as soon as you can and remind yourself how short it is.

Summer classes are not the worst thing in the world, and if you choose to take one at some point it won't be absolutely horrible. The nice thing about them is it's like ripping off a Band-Aid; it may be a little painful and annoying, but it's over so fast you don't suffer. Pick your class and professor wisely and get down to business; taking the class means you're one step closer to graduation!

So, to anyone else taking a summer class: good luck and you got this!

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