When I was younger, I used to moan and groan every time my parents and older brother voted to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. It was in black and white, they talked too fast, and there was no Santa. I wanted to watch the Grinch. Jim Carrey was funny. Jimmy Stewart? Not so much.
In the last few years though, times have completely changed. It’s a Wonderful Life is now the whole family’s favorite movie (yeah, I finally jumped on board). For those of you who haven’t seen it, it isn’t a Christmas movie in the traditional sense. There’s no Santa Clause, talking reindeer, or elves who venture back to New York after discovering that they’re actually human. But it is about family and friends. And now that I’m in college, that’s the kind of Christmas movie that appeals to me.
After you grow out of the Santa Clause phase, it becomes a little trickier to get into the holiday spirit. I mean, when you’re young, the idea of a magical man leaving you whatever your heart desires is plenty of fuel to have you feeling giddy for the whole month of December.
And then you grow up. The holidays change, but not necessarily in a bad way.
As you get older, I think Christmas and the holidays become more about experiences and less about things. You don’t care so much about what you’re putting on your Christmas list or what you’re going to find under the tree on Christmas morning.
You care about drinking hot chocolate in the kitchen with your mom and telling her about your friends. You care about rough housing with your brother just like you used to when you were kids. You care about watching your dad laugh freely with his siblings, holding your baby cousins, and getting excited when it starts to snow.
So make sure you’re appreciating those little moments you get to spend with your family and friends over this much needed break from school. Invite your friends out for a drive around town to look at Christmas lights. Take your little cousin ice skating. Force your older brother to come bowling with you and your parents.
College is all about figuring out who you are and how to live on our own, but coming home for the holidays is about remembering where you came from. And even if you can’t quite get into the holiday spirit or you still prefer Jim Carrey over Jimmy Stewart, I’ll bet that you appreciate things like making cookies with your family more than getting a new pair of boots on Christmas morning.
Cheers to that.
Image via Meredith Kress