We all remember that time in our young lives when we were hit with the epiphany that Christmas is not about what toys we will rip out of a box wrapped in Christmas paper. We also remember the time when we realized that our parents have been shopping for our youthful happiness and gifting presents under a pseudonym like some festive Dr. Seuss. Thinking back on that time; there was probably a moment when you wondered why your parents seemed happy about Christmas even though the only present they received was paid for by themselves while they emptied their wallet to stuff gifts under the tree for you. Why would they enjoy this? What could possibly be joyful about spending money to give someone else toys to play with?
Well, now that you are on the other side of that wrapped box, you can understand the joy that comes with watching a child tear open the perfectly taped wrapping paper. As is with most cases of reflection, your parents were right. They knew the true joy of Christmas and were probably thinking, “You will understand when you’re older.” Let’s run down a few of the things your elders learned long before you about the true joys of the holiday season.
- Spending Time With Loved Ones – A sad truth that you learn in your adult life is that time separates loved ones like nothing else. As a child, you couldn’t imagine a time when you wouldn’t wake up in your bedroom and go downstairs to see your parents and siblings. As you got a little older, you started having the impatience of not being able to wait for your freedom. Sometime after your early 20’s, however, you realize that you miss the days of seeing your loved ones so frequently. This Christmas, be thankful for seeing those you love and do not take your time with them for granted.
- Family Dinner – While Christmas dinner is not quite as famous as Thanksgiving, it is probably the second most popular holiday for gathering around a table with your family and friends. There is something nostalgic in squeezing around a table and eating as a family again. It doesn’t matter what you are eating; it matters who you are eating with.
- Enjoying The Time Off – Unfortunately, not everyone has Christmas Day off from their job. Some people bring home their work while others go into the office. For most of us, however, Christmas Day is one day of the year that we get to relax from the normal pressures of our lives and forget about the daily routine. This holiday, focus on not focusing. Cherish the time you have away from the hustle of your work-related responsibilities.
- Holiday Cheer – In present day America, it is sad but true to think that not every stranger you pass on the street or in the store will be happy and respectful. Christmas time is one of the few times of the year where almost every person you meet has a little more cheer to their personality than normal. Be grateful for this, and use this attitude in yourself to reflect on those who are not feeling as cheerful about the holiday season.
- Giving Gifts – As stated above, receiving gifts should not be your main source of joy this Christmas. One thing about those boxes under the tree is certain, though; watching a smile come to someone’s face because of the thought you put into their present will give you an unmatched feeling of happiness. It turns out the old saying is true: it’s better to give than to receive.