The Unfestive Season

By Nicole Cobar

My favorite memory of Christmas was when I was five years old. There was a knock at the door. My Dad opened the door and quickly called me over. I went to the door and saw that on the doorstep, there was a present. I picked it up and read that it was for me, from Santa Clause. I remember that feeling: warm, excited, joyous. Though there is not a proper word to describe it, I call it the ‘Christmas’ mood. I think it is the same mood that people in Hallmark movies feel. When I was younger, I used to love Christmas. I would spend hours perfectly crafting my letter to Santa. I would wrap presents over and over again until it looked perfect. I even recorded a Christmas album when I was only six years old. I truly loved the holiday. Mainly because, at the time, for selfish reasons, my favorite part of the holiday was receiving gifts.

Now, I appreciate Christmas for more sentimental reasons: spending time with my family, showing them how much I care for them, and indulging in the excitement and cheer of the holiday season. However, I do not enjoy Christmas as much as I used to. It has been a couple of years since I have felt the ‘Christmas’ mood. Especially this year. It has been a whole week into December, and I have yet to watch a holiday movie, wrap a single present, or turn on the radio to the Christmas station. For me, this is odd, as I am usually on top of Christmas, getting all my holiday shopping done early and spreading holiday cheer around my house. But this year, I don’t have any holiday cheer in me. Could it be because I am busy with school, finishing up up semester-long projects? Could it be that my family is preoccupied, and we are all working too hard to care that it is Christmas? Maybe, because I am an atheist, Christmas doesn’t hold that special, religious meaning, and without it and without worrying about receiving presents, Christmas is just like any other day? Perhaps, I am just too old to feel that Christmas feeling. I have been racking my brain, trying to figure out why this year, I am less like Buddy the Elf, and more like Ebenezer Scrooge.

Honestly, I have yet to find the answer. But after long, hard, consideration, I have come to the conclusion that it just doesn’t matter. Christmas, to me, means spending time with my family. Our annual Poker game, with my Mom’s obvious tells, my sister’s fierce competitiveness, and my Dad having to explain the rules to me every year. Christmas is giving to my family and seeing their face light up when they see the gift, no matter how small or silly it is. I know no one in my family is feeling the Christmas mood yet, but we really should start. I think it is time to kick the holiday blues, no matter the reason why we are feeling them, and enjoy Christmas time. I might not still believe in Santa, but even without him, there is something magical about the holiday season. It is the one time a year, where globally, we allow ourselves to be happy, and to enjoy. It only comes once a year, and I am not going to miss out.