Happier this Holiday Season

They say it’s the happiest time of the year and I have to agree. Some people say that Christmas is for children…maybe it is. But I think we all have a little bit of that child-like spirit in each of us that we rekindle around this time of year. The nostalgia of the holiday season—baking cookies, wrapping presents, and spending time with loved ones is emboldened each year as we add new memories to the season. There’s a catch though. Going home for the holidays sounds dreamy in definition, but it could be disappointing if we’re not careful. As much of those memories of our youth may mean to us, as we grow up our plans and relationships change. The season of joy can quickly turn into a season of stress if we’re not careful. After experiencing independence, it can be challenging to go back to living under your parent’s roof, if only for a few days. The town you grew up in can suddenly seem like a ghost of the past. It doesn’t feel the same. The key: don’t compare. I know I have such high expectations of the holiday season because they were some of my happiest memories of my childhood. But the meaning of the holidays changes as we change. It’s not something to miss or resent, it’s something to embrace. Rather than pine for the Christmases past, we can find the happiness in our current Christmas. Life was simple when we were young and our happiness was a well. A new bike or doll was good enough. We maintained the magic of the season and truly believed that anything was possible, including Santa visiting every child in the world all in one night. Ignorance was truly bliss. Yet now we can gain a deeper happiness this holiday season. While it might still be fun to wrap and unwrap presents or to go look at Christmas lights, it’s about so much more. More than the music, the food, the movies (as much as I love it all). It’s about the people we have in our lives. This is our best time to cherish those friendships and express our love for them. My grandma passed away this past year and it’s always different when a relative is no longer around to share in the holiday spirit. The traditions change throughout the years and we should welcome it rather than wish for the past. While it will be different without her this year, it reminds me to give thanks for another year with so many special friends and family to share life with. Each new holiday season is a gift. May we be a blessing to one another this time of year. May we remember that this season is more than the stores may say—it’s about love, laughter, and celebration instead. The boxes of presents will make us smile, but the bonds we build with the people who matter will give us a lasting happiness that goes beyond Christmas. I hope you have the happiest of holidays. Keep shining, The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

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