Writer’s block has completely engulfed me these last few weeks. I don’t know if I’ve slowed down due to the holidays or if my creative juice just isn’t flowing at the moment (as it so often ebbs back and forth), but I’ve been struggling to come up with blog post ideas and then actually write them out to produce regular content. That’s why, today, I’ve decided to write a reflection.
Until the last few years, I strongly identified Christmas as being a magical time; a time of year that brought out these specific feelings of hope, love and joy in everyone touched by the magic of the holidays. It was hard for me not to experience these feelings. I would look forward to Christmas all year long and blink as the season passed me by. Christmas, for me, was synonymous with magic.
I seemed to connect all of my happiest life events with Christmastime – making new friends, falling in love, seeing family, just being completely and utterly happy. For me, Christmas was something that you felt; it wasn’t just a holiday or time of year, it was a feeling.
Until recently, this feeling would engulf me come mid-November. I’d be happier, brighter, more sentimental. And I’d see that reflected in the people around me. When I wouldn’t see this feeling reciprocated in some of my older friends and family, I would wonder how they managed to avoid the warm embrace of Christmastime.
Then it just stopped for me.
I’m not sure when the magical feeling stopped. It may have been my senior year of high school or my freshman year of college, living away from home and pounded down by final exams, that changed this feeling to a more dull, less warm version of itself. I quickly felt the Christmas-feeling slip further and further out of my grasp and become less intense as time moved on. November was just another month and December was synonymous with stress. Christmas no longer felt like Christmas.
Around my sophomore year of college, I realized something that completely changed my mindset as an adult during the holidays: maybe to experience the magic of Christmas, we have to help create our own? After all, long gone are the days of leaving milk and cookies for Santa and receiving large gifts that we could never buy for ourselves. Like most things, the holidays change for us as we grow older… and I have a small suspicion that they don’t stop changing, either.
As a young adult with no children, the holidays for me are now filled with dreaded questions about my life, seeing family I no longer connect with on a personal level, and getting much less elaborate gifts (but also not really wanting them, either). Christmas is a lot more straight-forward for me now: work, gifts, family, repeat. It has become more cyclical than sentimental and it’s easy to get lost in that cycle, forgetting the feelings attached to it, especially when those feelings aren’t as quickly developed as when I was a child and teen.
That’s why, as adults, like most other things in our lives, we’re now responsible for making our own magic, our own fun, our own memories during Christmastime. We have different wants and needs, but just because I’m a 20-something, doesn’t mean I can’t – or shouldn’t – get giddy during this time of year.
I’ve found that making my own magic around Christmas is a lot different than the magic I was receiving as a child. It’s more about giving than receiving. It has more to do with creation, tradition and family. I find myself more eager to gift presents than receive presents, wanting to bake cookies and see the family I don’t regularly see.
By discovering how Christmas has changed for me and how, also, what I want out of the holiday has changed, I am now more capable of creating my own magic and facilitating the growth of those same feelings I felt all those years ago.
For some reason, there’s a weird stigma as adults that we can no longer enjoy Christmas like we used to as kids and, sure, we’ll never have those exact same experiences back, but it’s up to us to recreate those feelings with family, with friends and with ourselves. Just breathe, smile and realize that it’s okay to pretend you’re in a Hallmark Christmas movie.
Until next time,
Photo Courtesy of: Pexels