Woe of the mad season

Jared Thomson

The holiday season has arrived and I couldn’t be happier to let the cold weather roll in and dark clouds form a blanket over the sky. I sleep much better this time of year, curled up underneath my bedspread after watching Christmas movies and drinking spiked egg nog.

I love the holidays. People seem to be more cheerful and there’s a heavier emphasis on the value of spending time with loved ones and family. The holiday season almost seems like a clever ruse manufactured by our forefathers to keep the heart warm in order to survive the veil of winter, although holidays like Christmas are actually enjoyed under the hot summer rays of the sun in other parts of the world, such as Australia which is south of the equator.

One can’t help but wonder what life would be like if we didn’t have holidays. Imagine the amount of money that could be saved from spending, or how much is lost if you consider that many retail chains profit tremendously from Black Friday sales and Christmas or Hanukkah gifts. The years would probably feel a lot longer and life might just be a bit duller without the joys of celebration. The fun of caroling, decorating a tree, putting up Christmas lights and eating holiday themed dinners and snacks would no longer be traditions we could enjoy if these holidays weren’t in existence.

Holidays as they are today may not be representative of their true origins, but people continue to enjoy them rightfully so, as do I.

The only problem I’ve witnessed in my aging adulthood is that my wallet continues to face the onslaught of birthdays and holidays as my family continues to get larger and larger. I absolutely love being an uncle to my many nephews and nieces, but as a struggling college student who is juggling a job on the side and paying bills to keep a roof over my head and four mobile wheels under my tush, I’ve had to cut gifts out of my budget.

It’s very disconcerting and makes me yearn for the days beyond the horizon of college where I am indulged in my career, with beefier pockets of money that I can use to satiate the needs of my family and friends with gifts for which they are deserving.

I love to give gifts. I don’t because I can’t right now, but when I can, I certainly do my best to give what I can to put a few smiles on faces. Christmas time held a lot more weight for me as a kid. Looking back, I remember that all I really cared about was Santa Claus and how many gifts I was going to receive and whether they’d be good.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank my parents and relatives enough for everything they have done for me throughout my entire childhood, and I feel like it’s up to me to provide that same experience for my own kids one day as well as my nieces and nephews.

But that’s not what the holidays are about. Simply being there with them is what really matters, and when they are older they will hopefully understand that. When I find myself in a much better financial situation, I hope to be a giving uncle once again.

The important thing that I and you as the reader need to remember, just being a loving aunt or uncle or parent or friend is all that really matters. If you can’t afford to give, then don’t. But if you can, I hope for your sake that you are not greedy, because giving truly is better than receiving. As a child I didn’t see that, but as a man I can enjoy it and see the joy on faces that was once on mine when I was young.

Rather than feel bad about what I can’t give this holiday season, I will make up for it with a loving heart and do something that is so simple, yet difficult for many people to accomplish: I will be there. Happy holidays, everyone, and study hard so you can relax when finals are over.