My Christmas Complex

Christmas has been my favorite time of year ever since I can remember. Every day, 365 days of the year, I open up my computer, load Google Chrome, and immediately find myself on my start up page, “”. Each day, I take into account the number of days until Christmas, and as that number decreases my excitement grows.

I have always been obsessed with Christmas. The sight of glittering trees, the scent of pine, the twinkling of fairy lights, the spicy smell of gingerbread and the soft notes of festive holiday tunes, but these are not the true reasons I find the holiday season so completely magical. Christmas is wonderful because it is intrinsically linked to family, friends, and tradition. As I have grown, naturally my life has changed quite a bit, and I like to think that I am a different person each year. As a college freshman, this fall has certainly brought about some big changes in my life. But Christmas is the one holiday that is always exactly the same without exception.

This tradition goes far outside the confines of a single day. Every year I see the Nutcracker with my best friend’s family, build a gingerbread house with my little sister, and spend a night arguing with my family over which ornaments should go where on the tree. Every Christmas Eve we attend the children’s service at church, even though my sister and I outgrew the average age about 12 years ago. And every Christmas evening, my entire family on both sides—including the Jewish half— comes together for dinner, an event that only happens this one time a year. Christmas is also about the smaller traditions—ice skating with friends, setting out carrots for Santa’s reindeer (much easier than baking cookies for Santa), refusing to listen to anything but Christmas music on the radio, drinking peppermint mochas from Starbucks (perfect timing that one just opened on Ninth Street), and wearing Santa hats at inappropriate times. Although living away from home for the first time this year has felt unsettling at times, I always feel comforted when I remember that nothing about Christmas time has to be any different. Many of my happiest memories center around the holiday; each year, I underestimate the joy and frivolity that Christmas brings me.

For me, the Christmas season does not start with the first day of the advent calendar, or the moment that stores start to bring out the red and green decorations. The Christmas season transcends the traditional definition of the holiday. To me, it is a year round celebration of everything I love. Then why should there be a set time to begin celebrating the holiday cheer? To some, it may be inappropriate, or immoral even, to begin listening to holiday tunes before Thanksgiving. But if I’m having a bad day in the middle of June, listening to even the first few notes of Sleigh Ride is guaranteed to improve my mood in a way that little else can. Many people seem to think that you must automatically outgrow such extreme love for Christmas when you find out the painful truth about Santa and have bigger worries than the content of your wish list. But I don’t see any shame in absolutely loving a holiday.

Christmas reminds me that, for everything bad that happens, there is still always going to be something good coming up in the future, even if it is months away. After all, Christmas has theoretically been around for 2,013 years—I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon. And so, perhaps it seems odd to listen to Christmas music when studying for spring finals. But for me, celebrating Christmas is not limited to when it is cold outside or they start playing the Grinch on TV. The Christmas Season is a lifestyle.

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