Christmas cookies, tinsel, and a weekend without sleep: Finals, 2014.

Lately, I’ve been in a funk. I don’t really know what it is, but I’m just really not feeling Christmas-y this year. Maybe it’s the lack of snow on the ground or the lack of sleep from all the finals stress, but I just don’t feel holly jolly. It’s like an identity crisis because Christmas time is my absolute favorite time of year. It’s not just because I like getting presents, but over the years I’ve found new reasons to love the holiday season and I want to share them with you.

First,  there’s something in the air during Christmastime that makes everything a little bit more magical. Maybe it’s the faint smell of peppermint coffee (my favorite) or the crispness of impending snow, but I just love being outside during the holiday season because of this magical air. Now I’m sounding like I’ve really lost it.

Second, the decorations! Oh my! They truly seem to get more extravagant every year! In my hometown, I always knew it was truly holiday season when the wreaths went up and the lights were hung on every house and local business. Here at school, I’ve noticed the lights shining from dorm rooms, mini trees adorned with ornaments often fashioned from red Solo cups, and of course the lights hung in the square downtown. Now that makes for some magical air.

Third, everyone is more joyful. Yes, there are those crazies who get angry at the mall and the poor retail workers that have to deal with them, but man, I just love how everyone seems to be more jolly and smiling. Today, I was at Target and the cashier said “Happy Holidays!” and I know that she was getting paid to say that but I love the thought behind it.

Fourth, I truly enjoy giving. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t care as much about material goods like the latest phone or toy or what have you. I have really relished putting a lot of time and thought into each gift I give, from the funny (the sexy cowboy calendar I gave my friend one year) to the thoughtful (the at home spa kit I plan to give my mother this year). As T described to me earlier this week, gift-giving is a true test of how well you know someone. I love finding little things that people have mentioned off hand or things that represent an inside joke because putting meaning into a gift is the best part. And their reaction when they open it? Amazing.

I guess now I realize part of the reason why I’m in a Christmas-less funk. I just miss being home. The traditions I have with my mom and sister I simply can’t have here, well, at least not for another week and a half. I don’t have my dog to cuddle up with either at the moment.

But I’ll leave today on a happy note. I went to Target today with T to buy Christmas decorations for my room, and after putting them up, I feel a lot better. Sometimes it takes the little things like decorating and listening to O Tannenbaum by Vince Guaraldi Trio to remember what makes Christmas time so special.

Merry Finals!

-Amanda

P.S. Enjoy the attached picture of me, circa Christmas 1996. Even then I was a Christmas-loving, velvet-wearing fiend.

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