There is no more refreshing a feeling, than having all of your presents bought and wrapped. I spent the other morning gift-wrapping all of the gifts I have bought for friends this year. Now although wrapping paper tends to get destroyed within a matter of seconds, there is still something so enjoyable about wrapping gifts and making everything look nice. I’ve gone for very natural and traditional wrapping this year, which I think looks so lovely and festive.
I also love giving gifts to loved ones – I mean Christmas and birthdays are the only times in the year where you can justify buying a book called “hot Guys with Kittens” and hope that someone gets you a gift just as equally ridiculous, because any other time of the year, buying gag gifts just seems a bit ridiculous. (I’ve also picked up earmuffs as an ode to “Scream Queens,” which has got to be one of the best satirical series of all times and should be added to the ranks of “Clueless” and “Mean Girls.”)
This whole holiday season has been quite a relaxing one, and although my holiday cheer isn’t totally turnt up (am I even using the word “turnt” properly? I swear to God I’m so old. I mean seriously, it pains me to think that teenagers these days don’t even know who Patrick Swayze was, let alone have never seen “Dirty Dancing” and have no idea that “nobody puts Baby in a corner.”) due to the lack of snow, I have still decorated most of my flat and have been indulging in tons of Christmas films and lots of Kenny G (don’t judge.)
I am also getting extremely excited for Christmas Day which will basically be filled with delicious food, incredible company, pyjamas, Christmas and Chanukah films on loop (“A Rugrats Chanukah,” anyone?!) and endless amounts of wine. I mean honestly, what could be better than that?
At the same time, this December has been pretty stress free for me – partly because I got an early enough jumpstart on my Christmas shopping this year, partly because I kept a decent budget, and partly because since my family is Jewish, I only really had to purchase gifts for my closest friends and secret santa this year.
But for many others out there, Christmas can easily turn into the most dreaded time of the year. Awkward or dramatic family gatherings aside, gift giving can quickly turn into the most stressful and disheartening aspects of Christmas. A lot of the times it is easy to put yourself under pressure with the mindset that the price of the gift is congruent with how much one cares, causing people to shell out load of money they may or may not have. And even if you manage to give yourself a reasonable budget, the more people you have to shop for, the more money you have to spend. It’s kind of a damned shame that a season which is supposed to be about joy and love can turn so ugly so quickly.
For those of us who have had an easy time financing our Christmas shopping this year, it’s very easy to forget how many people are struggling this December. It is also very easy to forget that for some this time of year can be filled with sadness due to lack of loved ones to spend the holiday season with due to deaths in the family or strained relationships.
During this holiday season, while I really hope that you all are surrounded by loved ones and have an incredible Christmas Eve and Christmas day, please remember that being surrounded by those whom you both care about and care about you is what the holiday season is all about. Material items are nice and there is absolutely nothing wrong with gift giving and gift receiving. But it’s the memories that you are going to be building in the next few days that will stay with you the longest.
So this Christmas, please take a moment to acknowledge all the good that is in your life and to appreciate the little things that have brought you joy this past year. And also think about ways in which you can reach out to those who may not be so fortunate this time of year. As I will be celebrating Friendsmaskah with a bunch of Brits this year and a handful of Germans, we are going to be having our dinner and gift exchange on Christmas Day, so I plan on looking into some volunteering options for Christmas Eve. If you already have plans for this December, think about ways in which you can reach out in your community in the coming year. Remember, gifts are not just material things, but the kindness you show to other people and the help you lend to those in need.
And for those of you who might be struggling this holiday season with finances, family feuds, and/or memories of loved ones whom you may have lost around this time years past or may currently be fighting their own battles, as cheesy and hollow as it may sound coming from someone who only know through a computer screen, I really hope you are able to find something positive to hold onto and know that I am wishing you all the best.
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