The Reason for the Season.Posted Saturday, December 8, 2012, at 7:31 AM
November 20-January 2 is my favorite part of the year.
People are a little less awful to each other during the holidays. All anyone wants to do is snuggle up with a hot beverage and a cozy blanket, surrounded by loved ones and watching all the feel good movies they can handle.
Man, is it time for me to get off work yet? I have a puppy at home to snuggle!
Anyway, with all this love and cheer around, I have a hard time seeing why people lose the magic of this month or so we have where love and happiness are forced down our throats every time we decide to wake up.
But people have. On my Facebook and Twitter feeds, I see many people exclaiming that Christmas just doesn't feel the same as an adult. They miss the magic they used to feel.
I'll be honest, Christmas did change for me. It changed when I was about 13.
But it wasn't because of presents, and it wasn't because I learned a particular secret about Christmas that makes it really neat for kids. (I won't spoil it here!)
It was because it finally hit me around that age what this season is supposed to represent. My parents tried to get me to see it as a kid. Even when we weren't well off, my parents insisted we pick a name off the Angel Tree every year. Honestly, it's one of those things I remember really well about Christmas as a kid (besides getting my dang hand stuck in my stocking...for some reason it had this mass of loose yarn in it and a chocolate always managed to fall to the end of it.).
Around that age, I had realized that the holidays weren't about gifts or different food (although I still REALLY REALLY love that part of the holidays. I could eat turkey and my mom's casserole for DAYS). They're about being thankful for your own blessings. Trust me, you have at least one thing to be thankful for. Think on it.
And then I joined the debate team in high school. Mr. Petti doesn't like to brag on it, but he has the team come up with a project every year for the holidays. It's his "final" for the semester.
He sparked something in me. I've told him and the team before how much being on the team changed my life. I don't think they'll be able to comprehend that ever. But in December 2007, I experience the true magic in giving, especially around the holidays.
If you've lost the magic, or you know someone who has, here is my no-fail list of ways to bring it back:
(Please keep in mind that I am not a trained medical professional)
1. Donate more than 99 cents to the Salvation Army bell ringers
Seriously, those people go nuts over cash. They are so happy. I always keep a couple bills in my wallet during the holidays so I can always put some in. Their smile alone puts warmth in my heart.
2. Adopt a kid on the angel tree
This is an especially awesome thing to do if you have your own kid as well. It might come as a shock, but if you sell how excited your angel kid will be to get presents on Christmas, it will probably excite your kid as well. You might end up with a shopping cart full of options because they'll get so excited. PLUS if you pay attention, you might get an idea of what your kiddo really wants for the holidays. It might not be on their list to Santa!
3. Donate food to a food pantry
I've mentioned that food is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Not everyone knows where their next regular meal will come from, let alone a holiday meal. Bring some staples to a pantry, then see if/when they'll be taking donations for perishable items like turkeys that will be given to or served to families on or around Christmas. Or ask a pastor at a church. They probably know of at least one family who's year would be made by the kindness of getting a Christmas dinner.
4. Take a lights walk with some hot chocolate
It's a dying art, but people do still decorate their homes. There are always a few families out looking at the lights as well. Need a little Christmas magic? Check out the wide eyes and big grins shining off their cute little heads.
5. Host or a small gift-exchange party.
Keep the gifts to a maximum price. Make it a dirty Santa. Or a white elephant exchange. Change your mind about skipping that silly neighborhood or office party. Picking out a zany item and waiting for someone to get it is exciting. I participated in a white elephant last Sunday. I found a two-pack of off-brand foam dart guns for under $5. Instant hit for all ages. I mean it. My mother and father would have had a great time with those things. Smiles all around, a little mischief with the stealing aspect of White Elephant. Instant fun.
These are just a few ideas, of course.
When you're losing that cheer, how do you get it back?
And now: picture time!
Mine and Ryan's first Christmas Tree together.
Jelly Bean in her Christmas sweater and bow
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I'm a staff writer for the Tiger Tribune, and I have a lot to say! Music, books, movie reviews, my opinions and updates around the high school.