It’s that cozy feeling of Abuelita hot chocolate warming-my-soul-as-I-drink-it for me. It’s that pitchy family karaoke during Christmas or New Year’s for me. It’s that oh-so-delicious menu that is served at both Thanksgiving and Christmas for me, and the list goes on. Time and time again, the holiday season has proved itself to be one of the biggest blessings throughout the year. It all starts with probably one of the most underrated holidays of the year—Thanksgiving. Those mashed potatoes and pumpkin pies don’t just signify a happy stomach, but also a grateful heart. So many times, we get caught up in our daily lives, busy with assignments to do, bosses to impress, rooms to clean, tests to study for, that we forget to take time to just…breathe. Yes, finals do come right after Thanksgiving and yes, it gets so cold your teeth start chattering, but Thanksgiving allows you to pause and simply reflect. Look back and see all the times God helped you to complete that assignment right before the due date, get that paycheck raise, maintain a somewhat organized living space, and ace that exam, even in the midst of chaos. You may not be thanking the scale after that infamous Thanksgiving dinner, but I assure you, there are countless of the minutest blessings to be thankful for.
A smile from a stranger.
A compliment from a friend.
A healthy checkup at the doctor.
A safe drive home from work.
It is because of the little things, and the little things precisely, that make the holidays so memorable. It is all those “Remember when…” moments at the dinner table with your family, and all those old candid photos of your two-year-old self picking your nose. Nevertheless, these timeless memories oftentimes find themselves disguised as misshapen ornaments carefully designed and crafted by none other than a 1st grader. When you see that fir tree, overflowing with handmade ornaments, sparkly ribbon, and twinkling lights, you know the most wonderful time of year has finally arrived—Christmas.
This means that you and your family are most likely going to go to Marshalls a couple of days before Christmas to buy a gift for every family member you can think of, including those who you don’t even know. Despite the endless shopping sprees and late nights of gift wrapping, the very idea of Christmas brings joy to people. Yes, presents are fun and all, but perhaps the greatest part of Christmas is the atmosphere it carries. The ambience. The spirit. Even if you’re not watching classic Christmas comedies, or making gingerbread houses, you are inevitably feeling the warmth of everyone around you. The energy of “Ah, it’s been a rough year, but somehow I’ve made it this far. Time to kick back, enjoy some Starbucks holiday drinks, and celebrate” goes unmatched. And that is exactly what it is. A time to celebrate. A celebration doesn’t necessarily have to be a full-on family gathering, but a mere facetime call to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, a Zoom meeting with loved ones, a guilty pleasure meal, a much-needed workout, and the list goes on and on. 2020 has been a rough year, and we all know it. So use this holiday season as a way of taking time from all the noise that is going on around you, and simply… celebrating.
Brandon Alvarez is a freshmen at Andrews University.