Do They Know It’s Christmas?

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Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Fiffy Donahoe, Sentry Staff Reporter

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. String lights curl around trees and wreaths adorn front doors. Mariah Carey can be heard belting out tunes in every store. But there is an underlying exhaustion growing with each passing year. Airports are jammed with weary travelers, dreading the onslaught of haughty in-laws and screaming toddlers. Malls have become a battleground for desperate shoppers scouring for the best deal. Teenagers hunker down in the furthest corner, plugging headphones into their ears. A holiday once sparkling with magic has gone cold. What happened to the most wonderful time of the year? 

Growing up, Christmas feels like the rest of the world is joining in on a child’s fantasy. Something about a jolly man in a red suit shimmying down the chimney evokes a special kind of joy. Days were filled with hot cocoa and candy canes sticking to fingers. Families crowding into homes meant warmth, not dread. The holidays meant snow-dusted mornings and woolen sweaters. It meant smiling at everyone passing in the street. It meant coming together to celebrate the end of a long year and the start of a new one. The world used to shine just a little bit brighter come December. But now, the days seem even duller than usual. 

As children grow into teenagers, Christmas morphs into something cringeworthy. Puberty brings many tragedies, but one of the most heartbreaking is the death of a legend. The realization that there is no Santa is made even worse by the realization that any person, jolly or not, breaking in through the chimney is concerning. Believing in Santa is no longer cool. Cynicism became the new trend in an effort to mask the vulnerability of growing up. 

The shoulders of teenagers sag with the newfound weight of responsibility. High school is a four year struggle with insecurity, paralyzing awkwardness and a declining sense of sanity, usually sucking up most of the day. The explosion of social media has not been helpful, simultaneously making us feel more connected and more isolated than ever before. As teenagers attempt to figure out how they want to spend the rest of their lives, they simply cannot be bothered with frivolous merriment these days. The holidays have become a nuisance, just another hurdle to jump over. 

Contrary to popular belief, the spirit of the holidays is just as, if not more important as you get older. The wild and expansive imaginations of children allow them to make every day magical, such that Santa and his reindeer shooting across the sky is nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps there is no such man with no such reindeer, but should we be so quick to dismiss the magic? Have we already forgotten how the sun gently rises on Christmas morning, or the shrieking laughter as we tumble down the hill on a sled? What about the peaceful quiet of Christmas Eve, when the whole world seems to take a moment to admire the starlit sky. Perhaps our eyes were clearer and our hearts were softer, and perhaps life was simpler then. But getting older does not mean becoming immune to love and joy, no matter how simplistic we may find them. 

Christmas is not a holiday riddled with childish nonsense. It serves as a reminder that there are more beautiful things in life that are too often lost in the trudge from day to day. In these coming weeks, I urge you to lean into the comforts of a soft blanket and a warm fireplace, perhaps even build a family of snowmen. I urge you to open your heart a little more, and see how many sizes it will grow.