Young adult reconnects with childhood Christmas joy

Sitting in my Harborview apartment, I can see the snow flying in the blowing wind. The tree is up, and my roommate put lights around the sliding door. Our apartment looks like Christmas threw up in it, and it makes me smile.

I have not been in the Christmas mood. I mean, my shopping is nearly done, I have been listening to Christmas music and “Love Actually” has graced my television screen at least once.

However, until now I have not truly been in the Christmas spirit. For some reason I haven’t had that giddy childlike sensation. I am not sure if it is because of stress, or because it seems like this year is going by fast. Whatever it is, my Christmas spirit has not been present. It makes me sad too. I usually am like a 5-year-old when it comes to Christmas.

Lately, though, it’s been like I “feel my age.” I’m only 21, and I feel like I have aged three years in the last semester. I find myself losing a sense of what makes me, well, me.  As weird as it sounds, though, having a Christmas tree lit up next to me is bringing some of it back. I am excited to spend the holiday with my family and truly get into the swing of things.

I am not sure about the rest of you, but being home gives me a sense of security. It really brings the idea of the holiday closer than ever. Decorating our family tree together while listening to Christmas music reminds me of what it was like to be a kid. It is something we do together every year. It is a tradition I hope to pass on to my own family.

Christmas is a time of the year I do not like to rush. I wish I could slow down this year even more. I am not sure where I will be next year, or if I will even be able to make it home for the holidays, so I plan on treasuring this year a little bit more. Enjoying the holiday season with your family is something you should always do. No matter what you celebrate, being with family is one of the greatest gifts of all.

Some of the best childhood memories of mine come from this time of year. There is just something magical about it. A friend joked once that if I were the main kid in “The Polar Express,” I would still be able to hear the bell when I am 86. I would like to think that the statement is true. It’s not like I actually still believe in Santa, but I believe in the spirit of Santa. As much as I love getting gifts, I enjoy giving more.  My friends think it’s crazy that my shopping is done.

I believe that we should be able to take that idea and use it throughout the year. I think sometimes we forget what this season brings to us: a joy that is only found when the tree is up and the stockings are hung by the chimney with care. But try to remember what it feels like when the weather is 90 degrees and you are sitting out getting a tan.

This time of the year everyone is donating to a different charity, visiting nursing homes or bringing food to a soup kitchen. Sometimes we forget about doing things like this come January. This year, as a New Year’s resolution, I plan on keeping the spirit of Christmas all year round. Now that I found it, I do not want to lose it. I hope to get a chance to volunteer more. As weird as it sounds, I miss it. I used to do it all the time through my elementary school and high school youth group. I want to start volunteering again.

I may be caught up in the emotions of the season, but I know that if I try hard enough, I will be able to continue them after Dec. 25.  I know that life will sometimes get in the way; I just hope to be more able to control it better. Making time for others is a gift that can keep on giving and you can start with the ones you love most and are closest to. Enjoy your family this holiday season and have a merry one.

CAITIE RYAN

[email protected]