Christmas focus should be family

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The holiday season is now upon us. Meaning, as if life was not stressful enough already, you have presents to buy, food to consume, traffic to contend with and potential News Year’s resolutions to make.
While winter is not exactly my favorite time of year, I like being warm rather than freezing certain body parts off when I walk to class. Christmas is also one of my favorite holidays.
Yes, it might have a lot to do with presents, but that is not the only factor that makes Christmas number one on my holiday countdown chart.
When I was younger, I admit, it was hard to look past the mountains of presents under the tree and the hankering to know exactly how Santa got down the chimney. I was jaded. Christmas was not about family to me, it was about how many cool new toys I got to play with or show off to my friends, and how many toys in the Toys R Us Big Book that my parents did not buy me.
It was not until my freshman year at Mercer that I realized what Christmas should, and now does, mean to me.
I realized that all the time I lived at home I took my family for granted. We have arguments like every family; my siblings get on my every last nerve, and sometimes I just wanted to scream because I was so annoyed. Life was truly awful.
After moving away from that and going back home I started to notice that the fighting did not matter all that much anymore, and that my siblings magically seemed to be okay. I figured it was just because I had not seen them in so long, that those feelings would come back.
Alas, they did not and it took me a little while to figure out why but during that time I realized that my family is my family and I need to not take them for granted.
Yes I still cared about getting what I asked for on Christmas, but then I looked at my parents who were sitting there watching us. I realized something in that moment.
My parents did not care if I got them a present.
They did not care at all if they got anything from any of us, they cared most that they had their entire family back together again for Christmas.
They were smiling not because they liked watching us open our presents, but because they were grateful we were all there.
I realized coming home that Christmas is not about presents, it is about so much more than that.
I do not care if my parents cannot get me exactly what I want anymore, because I know that I am lucky enough to have a family that loves me and who is grateful just to have me come back home every year for Christmas.
That is truly what Christmas is all about. Not the gifts, but the togetherness and the love that flows throughout the holiday.
So this year, and I know it will be hard, do not pick fights with your brothers or sisters.
Know that your family’s main priority is not to drive you crazy with their bickering.
Know that your parents are not trying to make your life miserable, and realize that what you have many others would give anything to have.
Your friends and romantic interests can come and go.
Presents can shrink, break or get lost, but your family is bonded to you for life.
So try to look past the material things this Christmas and focus on the things that truly matter.

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