As the holidays are coming to an end and a new year approaches, I’m realizing how I have so much to be thankful for between friends and family, even if I still haven’t found that full time job yet and am drowning in a sea of debt! (On a bittersweet note, to touch on my last post about hiring managers, a few companies did finally reach out to me, letting me know I will not be moving up in the hiring process. If you read my last post, you’ll know why I feel that’s bittersweet).
Driving home from babysitting the night before Christmas Eve, I found myself realizing how different the holidays are as we get older- Perhaps how much more appreciative we are as we get older- and how my reasons for loving Christmas has changed.
When I was younger, even in high school, and if I’m being completely honest, most of college, I used to look so forward to what I was opening on Christmas morning, how much money I would have after the holiday, and what the plans were for Christmas Eve and Day shenanigans. And I think that when we’re young it’s okay to have our main concern aimed at what we’re getting for Christmas, it’s almost as if it’s our unwritten right to be selfish as kids this time of year. However, this year was different; I didn’t give much thought to what was going to be underneath the tree Christmas morning, but more so how the time would be spent leading up to December 25th.
Reflecting on this, I also realize that there aren’t many materialistic things I want or even concrete things that my parents could wrap up and put under the tree. Unrealistically, I would like my student loans to disappear, to be anxiety free, and a JOB. Santa??
Anyway, my sister who’s been in England since August returned home to celebrate the holidays with us which was a priceless gift for everyone in our family, one in which I know we’re all happy about. Knowing that we’re all in good health is also a gift to be appreciative of, as well as having a nice roof over our heads. Cliché and a bit cheesy, but you all know it’s true. These are things I know I should be unconditionally grateful for year round, but the holidays really highlight how special certain things can be, even the simplest factors of very day life.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a poet from Cambridge, Massachusetts, wrote a very thoughtful and meaningful poem in 1863 during the Civil War, which is now composed into many renditions of one of my favorite Christmas songs, Christmas Bells. Specifically the rendition done by John Gorka. It’s beautiful, meaningful, and instils in you the true meaning of Christmas- a time to be joyous, thankful, and selfless.
Recently I read an article written in 1990 titled, Why I Hate Christmas, and as scrooge sounding as it was, everything the man wrote was true! Although I agree with some of the things he talked about were true, he did not sway my opinion to hate Christmas. Think about how strongly the holidays effect our economy between the extravagant gifts, abundant amount of gifts, money spent on holiday parties-both food and alcohol costs- decorations, lights, cards, wrapping paper, travel costs, etc. It’s scary to think about most department stores make two fifths of their profit in the few short weeks of the Christmas season. And although this results positively for our country’s economy, all of that excess spending could be put to better use, especially around the holidays, for the kids who get nothing instead of buying another gift for someone who had everything- for example, donating to charities. Furthermore, instead of spending in a charitable way, we could even donate time to volunteer services.
Maybe if we thought less about the materialistic aspects of the holiday, more people would appreciate the Christmas season itself, resulting in less stress and pressure on parents, loved ones, and friends to find the “perfect” gift, and everyone’s gift to each other could just be the time spent together.
Spending time with my family and friends this past week has been great, but I still have the post-grad scaries that creep up on me in the quiet of the crowd. Being aware of the fact that my student loans most definitely kick in in two months from now is enough to make my heart stop, so the job search is in full force as I enter 2017. Although there are many things happening that stress me out and make me sick, the things I do have to be grateful for and enjoy, definitely outweigh them! So, for now I’m going to relax, enjoy myself, and pray that this will actually be the best year yet.
Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!