I don't mean to sound like a Scrooge, but this holiday season hasn't been a very welcome one for me. It's my first Christmas as a full-time working woman, and I'm beginning to see how challenging it is to balance everything. As much as I love my job, I haven't had much time to shop for presents or decorate the tree or even spend time with friends and family. When I was in college as a full-time student (I'm finishing my last semester online because of my job), I remember having a month off for winter vacation. This year, I have two days. That's it -- just Christmas Day and New Year's Day. So what's a 20-year-old girl to do when the whole world is carolling while I'm sitting in an office? Well, I guess my only option is to take a deep breath and just take in all the merry.
When you really think about it, the holidays are NOT about comfort and warmth, as people now seems to think. Whatever your religion or lack thereof, the holidays are about surviving struggles with a smile. Christians celebrate the birth of a Savior in a horribly uncomfortable stable because there was no room elsewhere. Those who are Jewish rejoice that light miraculously lasted for longer than expected and dreaded. And even if you're not particularly religious, wintertime is not a very joyful period in terms of weather and and lack of sunlight. What's so striking about the holidays is that they are not inherently happy; people MAKE them happy.
So maybe this season was a bit harder for me with my new time limitations. But maybe all I really need are those two days off to enjoy my friends' and family's company. I don't need to spend a million dollars on presents or hours decorating a tree, but I get to spend a little bit of time with the people I love most. And that's what counts during the holidays -- celebrating the little joys amid the hardships.
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--By Caitlin from Stream of Caitlinness
[Photos via Brandi Reed]