I’ve always loved Christmas but now, it’s different. Each year, there’s a little less joy and magic. Normally, the first sight of red and green lights on a neighbor’s house would automatically bring a smile to my face. But now those lights aren’t as twinkly and bright. So, is it Christmas that’s changed or is it me?
I think a lot of us love Christmas, but as we get older, it becomes only one day out of the year. When you’re younger, your Christmas seems to last even longer. In elementary school, our class would have holiday parties, holiday activities, and holiday crafts like making cookies together. I can remember desks at Rancho Elementary school covered in shiny bits of colorful sugar and making reindeer food. My holiday spirit was turned up to 100 during those years. Once, for the whole month of December I wore light up reindeer antlers and Christmas colors to show how much I loved the holiday.
It isn’t just school traditions that have changed. It’s also family traditions that have drifted away and aren’t likely to ever return. I used to love looking at the Santa Tracker. There was nothing like seeing a little Santa animation on a map to make me imagine that Santa was headed to Novato, to my house. And I always helped bake and decorate Christmas cookies for Santa. I’d put them out with a glass of milk on top of the piano in our family room with the Christmas tree. My dad would read us The Night Before Christmas. All of those traditions I did with family have faded away as I’ve gotten older. When I was little, Christmas gave me a feeling of warmth and comfort and I was a carefree spirit during December. Thinking about who I was and how excited I was only makes me feel sad that that part of my life is, like the reindeer food on the lawn, gone.
Now, I’m a senior in high school. Santa, his reindeer, his sleigh, cute little elves, the North Pole, living snowman, and gifts from “S. Claus” under the tree, are no longer magical things that fill me with curiosity and wonder. I don’t hear scraping on the roof during December and think that it’s reindeer. I know now it’s probably branches scraping the roof. There’s not a lot of room for imagination anymore. Tests, studying, jobs, sports and extracurricular activities fill our hours and computer screens fill what’s left.
I miss the traditions from when I was young. I’m filled with nostalgia for the moment I first heard a Christmas song on a television ad. I want to go back and I still have the spirit, but it’s like the bell in one of my favorite holiday movies, the Polar Express. It’s a little harder to hear.
Thinking about all of the traditions from when I was little that I do not do anymore, makes me nostalgic. But when I see a smiling kid’s face at my annual dance performance, filled with wonder at the sight of iconic holiday objects, I at least know that Christmas is still just as magical for the young. Christmas hasn’t really changed. I’ve changed, but now I can look back and see how special that time of the year is and recognize that you have to enjoy each moment of it while you still believe.
By Aidan Daniel