Reason for the Season

Secret santas, white elephants and presents for your all your friends and family. Christmas is expensive: especially for high schoolers without full-time jobs. So why does everyone my age seem to care so much about brands and luxury?

From complaining if a car’s headlights don’t come on automatically to wearing the same hoodie every day because it’s the only brand name jacket someone has, materialism seems to be on the rise among my peers. I, myself, think these little things just aren’t worth stressing over. I’m very grateful just to have a car, and I wear clothes I like no matter the logo. I’m stressed enough about doing well in school and my extracurriculars that being concerned about what people perceive my socioeconomic status to be based on my possessions would be ridiculous.

During this time of year, with everyone on the hunt for perfect presents and gaudy gifts, people seem even more concerned than usual with having things that are bigger and better than their neighbors and friends. What I care about and what I wish others would care about is just giving: it’s the thought that counts. Buying someone a gift, no matter what it is, shows you care about them and you want to do something nice for them during the holiday season. I love watching people unwrap inside jokes, memories and sentiment: things that may or may not be expensive but are rich in laughs or love and make someone’s face light up when they tear open that paper.

But I still don’t think material things, even those sincerely genuine gifts, are the true reason for the season — it’s actually spending time with loved ones for the holidays, whether or not that entails an eight-hour drive to a grandmother’s house or a dozen extra place settings at the dinner table. We spend all day every weekday with our friends, other teenagers and teachers, and our families often get neglected, so taking a few days out of Christmas break to reconnect with them is a small sacrifice that can reap great rewards. Our families can be the cornerstones of our psyche, our emotional foundations and our greatest confidants. Even in the worst circumstances and when things get rough, they’re still family and they still love you.

I love my family, and I know they’ll always be there for me. Buying them gifts for Christmas is fun, but just spending time with them during the holidays is even more special to me. We’ve been through a lot this year, and I’m sure plenty of other families have, too. This holiday season, I hope everyone takes a second to appreciate the family they have and enjoy the time they get to have with them.

So, while buying your friends brand-name hoodies or even a stuffed goose as a joke, I hope everyone takes a second during this break to have some quality family time.