Photo via Jennifer O'Carroll
Maybe the lights aren’t as bright.
Maybe it’s because Santa stopped coming.
Or maybe it’s the absence of elementary school Christmas parties.
Each year, it seems as though I lose more and more excitement for the holiday season. As a child, I loved decorating the Christmas tree, which seemed to tower over me. Now, I cannot find the time to hang any ornaments, and that same tree seems to have shrunk. I remember conversations in every season with the kids in my class about what Santa had brought for us or a funny thing our Elf on the Shelf did. Now, in our final year of high school, my friends and I cannot decide what to add to our lists.
Once we figure out what we want, instead of addressing a letter to the North Pole, we send our parents direct links to the exact gifts. While this method has proven to be successful when making sure my mom orders the right color shoes, the surprises on Christmas morning never failed to excite me. Nowadays, I despise surprises on Christmas, as I have developed my own preferences and would not be caught dead with something my mom picked out for me.
Along with my wish lists changing, it seems my family traditions have changed as well. I have fond memories of waking up with my older sister in our festive pajamas and whispering about what gifts we thought we got while we waited for my mom to come get us. Since my sister and I have gotten older, our sleepovers have become something we cannot agree on.
It seems as though we alternate each year with who wants to continue our tradition and who thinks we should do away with it. We used to beg the night before to wake up much earlier than my parents wanted because we just could not wait to play with our new toys and games. The roles have now reversed and I refuse to let my parents get me up before 9 a.m., so I can catch up on the sleep I lost during finals week.
While I am soaking up my last holiday season at home, it feels like I am grieving past holidays at the same time. I know what little excitement left will soon fade as my priorities and schedule continue to change. The holiday season is part of my childhood that I wish I had held on to just a little longer. My naive self desperately wanted to grow up without realizing all that I would lose.