During the holiday season, there are many emotions that are felt. From happiness and joy to sadness and betrayal. My views on the holiday season has changed many times over the past 23 years of my life.

As a kid, around 4 years old, I got excited. Thanksgiving was the time when family came and hung out for more than 30 minutes, and we got to eat a lot of food. Christmas was a time when I got presents from Santa, and got to, again, hang out with family I don't normally get to see.

When I turned 10, it was the first year I spent Christmas in a new surrounding. My grandparents and I moved from our house on a farm in Nebraska, to a small town in Iowa. We were closer to some of the family we never got to see, so the holidays lost some of that charm. However, I still enjoyed being around my family, even though we fought more during the holidays.

When I turned 12, this was the first holiday season I had to spend without my grandma, who was like a mom to me. She raised me. I started living with my grandparents at 6 days old. I called her mom. In 2005, she passed away due to lung cancer. Christmas was especially hard for me, because it was her favorite holiday. She had a little town set up in a hutch in the corner of the room. She had boxes and boxes of decoration. This was the first year that we had to set all of it up, without her. It's at 12 years old that I started losing my care for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

When I turned 14, I met some friends who had the holiday spirit. They had a complete family, and didn't see the holidays as grim and dark as I did. Where I didn't feel it mattered anymore, they showed me it did. They brought the light back into the holiday season for me. It was this holiday season that I spent with a smile on my face, for the first time 2 years.

When I turned 20, I started getting sentimental. I think we all reach that age where gifts quit becoming so important, and giving takes over. I no longer cared if I received gifts, I just wanted to give them. This was the first year ever I didn't make a Christmas list. I actually went Christmas shopping for the first time, and got my family gifts. This was the first year I made a point to be around my grandpa as much as possible because I knew someday I'd lose him, too.

Now, at 23, we are approaching the holiday season. Christmas is 2 days away. This is the first year of not being close to home for the holidays. I'm easily 45-60 minutes away, depending on traffic. This is the first year of having to deal with travelling on the holidays to make it back home. I'm even more sentimental now, as I make sure to call my grandpa as much as I can, and make sure he knows I love him. Christmas songs are constantly being played in my apartment, and in my car. 

I've realized that throughout my life, the holiday season has taken on many roles. I started as a kid, loving the family time and receiving presents. It took a while, but I came full circle in how I feel about the holidays. It's amazing to me how life events can change how you a view a certain time of year. 

I want to thank everyone who reads this and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. 

 

Published by Scott Stearns