It is the time of year when people are more stressed, angry, anxious, thoughtful, fearful, worried, and often, also, sad.
Besides the commercialism taking hold of our wallets, we also find ourselves on an extremely-emotional rollercoaster ride. We want to give more by spending more and end up in debt just to please people, to make them happy, and let them know we care.
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. Growing up, my mom and I would bake a variety of German Christmas cookies with music playing in the background, and us singing along with the artist blaring from the music box. It smelled more and more like Christmas every day.
We did not have outdoor lights, but rather, only accessorized the windows with traditional Christmas décor, and our living room table proudly displayed a homemade wreath with four candles.
There was a feeling of Christmas in the air, and the excitement for the holiday approaching slowly built on a daily basis. We made crafts, planned dinner for the three Christmas days, and made note of our favorite movies on the television.
Everywhere we went felt like Christmas was approaching: Christmas markets, the colorful lights, the Christmas trees, the smell of candy apples, candied almonds, gingerbread, and gluehwein. Music was playing in the background of each store, and people seemed happy.
Nowadays, people have an ironclad poker face and make you feel like you “stole” their last gift from the store. It has become a season of buying, anything and everything. Sure, I love receiving gifts, but not if it means the person giving it to me was immensely stressed while wrapping it.
Looking back, what I remember most about Christmas were not the gifts, but the feeling surrounding the holiday, the time I spent with my family, the meals we ate, and the games we played.
And, while there is no greater gift than seeing the happy, smiling faces when your loved ones are opening your gifts, remember that you are giving them (and yourself) the greatest and most priceless gifts of all—love and j0y.
It’s not the presents they will remember, but the atmosphere, the love, and the memories you have created together. No matter what type of holiday you celebrate this time of year, the gift of love and caring and togetherness are universal.
Gifts come and go, but memories stay—so create ones worth looking back on.