Well, it’s that time of year again. Gorgeous Christmas trees sprinkled with all sorts of crafty ornaments are popping up around every corner. Vibrant, multicoloured lights ravishingly wrap around each house on your street. Oh, that’s not even mentioning the smell of freshly baked confectionery or the hearty melodies of Christmas carols! All around, cheerful chatter among jostling pedestrians carry along the jovial spirit. It’s safe to say, the holiday season is here! Amidst the lighthearted babble at a family gathering or while you’re comfortably snuggling up before a fireplace while watching a movie, have you ever thought, even for a moment, what does the holiday season mean to you?

When I was younger, I couldn’t imagine a holiday season without unwrapping gifts. I still remember the suspense, eagerness and pure joy that filled a younger version of myself as I sprinted downstairs to the Christmas tree on the morning of Christmas day. Sitting there were beautifully wrapped presents screaming at me to crack them open. I chuckle every time I think back at my giant gaping smile as my eyes lit up with delight. Yet it wasn’t just me, with the ends of the mouth pulled back forming a grin that morning. A gaze up will reveal my youthful brother beaming at his brand new pack of Pokémon Cards and my parents giggling along as they observed the two of us. 

Despite having now outgrown the tradition of rushing to the Christmas tree, the holiday season still sparks the same magic as it did back then. We dance along to holiday music with the same liveliness and have family dinners, joking and laughing together while devouring our flavourful holiday meals. As we go through these blissful moments, not often do we realize that we are forging unforgettable memories and reinforcing our bonds with all those that we know and love. There’s just this mystical pull surrounding this special season that brings together old friends, cousins who haven’t seen each other in two years or even whole families. Perhaps it’s because it’s so rare that these opportunities arise, but no matter the cause, I find it very much rejoiceful. Even so, we may not fully understand or appreciate them until we recall them far into the future. 

For much of our daily lives, our roles are constantly switching with a long list of responsibilities for which attention is needed. You can see why we never seem to catch a break. Consequently, as we enter the holiday season, many are glad to loosen up and take it easy. While many acknowledge the extra time gained to relax, it’s not uncommon for us to miss the other benefit arising from more time: the opportunity to try something new. 

From cooking to skiing to learning a new instrument, it’s almost a given that there’s some hidden passion you haven’t discovered yet. As specified earlier, our constant rotation of responsibilities in our everyday lives often hinders goals aimed towards self-exploration. Hence, because we do find time during the holiday season, why not go for it? With the serendipity of the holidays, who knows? You might just pick up karate and get yourself a black belt. Besides, considering how opportunities to explore on a daily basis are few and far between, I think it’s worth it to roll the dice and treasure this chance to roam around in the realm of potential pastimes and hobbies. 

Apart from the personal glee brought on by the holiday season, it also extends its jolly mirthfulness to society as whole. A prevalent example lies in the effect of the holidays on charitable donations. In fact, more donations are made in December than in any other month contributing 17-22% of revenue earned by non-profits[1]. Due to this uptick in donations, whether that be as food, toys, clothing or money, more people are staying safe and warm during the holiday season. More faces will have smiles like the one on my face when I opened my present before the Christmas tree. In a way, you are sharing the joy and holiday spirit that you feel and love. When you choose to donate, you may not think much about who is receiving it or what it could mean to them, but I can guarantee that generosity will go a long way. 

So here we are; it’s the holiday season. A time that we relish so much and which brings us so much excitement. And oh yes, as we unwrap our presents and make gingerbread houses, we know just how fun and thrilling it is. With that said, if we look up and recognize not only our own wholehearted laughs but also the ones of those around you, if we dip our toes in a new activity that we haven’t tried before and if we empathize with the recipients of our donations, perhaps we will appreciate and cherish the holiday season that much more. 

Before we end off, what are your thoughts? Do we know what the holiday season means to us? What does it mean to you? Let me know. 

[1] https://neonone.com/resources/blog/year-end-giving-statistics/