My Christmas started the same way it always does-with my little brother knocking on my bedroom door telling me to wakeup and get downstairs. I haven’t been excited for Christmas in years, and this time was no different. I think as you get older, that Christmas magic just starts to disappear for some people. My participation in Christmas festivities is usually wrapping everyones gifts, and competing with my older brother to see who got our little brother the best gift. Hint: it was a very close call this year, but he won.
Anyone who really knows me can attest to how much I dislike receiving gifts. I prefer to be the gift giver, just because I like seeing people smile and making them happy. Usually when people ask me what I want, I just answer with “nothing” or “I don’t know”. The funny thing is, even when I say that, I still appreciate something small but prefer handmade thoughtful gifts above store bought items.
Usually the gifts I receive prove that no one really knows me or what I like. And as a teen, that kind of sucked. But as an adult, it’s something I had gotten used to because I just started to appreciate receiving gifts as a whole. Putting on that smile and saying thank you was just a habit at this point, but this Christmas was different. This Christmas made me happy, and honestly, it made me cry. Everyone got me a gift that reflected the things like I like and the events I enjoy. My brother pulled through and got me Ariana Grande tickets. Although I’m beyond grateful for him and his gift, looking at them now.. I feel bad. They were expensive and I probably should not have asked for them. But hey, see you in June Ari!
Im grateful for every single thing I have received from my friends and family, but two gifts really stood out to me the most this year. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by people who have nothing but pure intentions, genuine kindness, and love. The first gift is from my parents. They donated to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) on my behalf. For something that seems so simple, this small act means the absolute world to me. Not only does it mean that my mom listened to what I wanted, but it also means that she recognizes how much mental health means to me. It shows that she not only supports the field I’m trying to get into, but it also demonstrates that she is willing to also support the cause of fighting the stigma. The second gift is from my best guy friend, Ry. I told him time and time again that I didn’t want anything for Christmas. I’ve grown so accustomed to guys saying “okay” and not gifting me anything for the holidays, or even birthdays. The first few times thats happened to me, it’s been totally cool. But as the years go on, it kind of sucks to put a lot of effort and thought into someones gift and then see them put no effort into something for you. It almost makes you feel like you aren’t worth their time. But anyways, instead of buying me something (which I refused on several occasions), he got creative. He’s currently in the process of writing me a story, and although its understandably not completed yet, he gave me a rough outline of the main plot. Evidently, Ry is a writer. So to receive a gift that showcases effort and dedication…it feels good.
My Christmas day continued at my aunts house, where my moms side of the family gathered, as Christmas Eve is dedicated to my dads side of the family. It’s crazy to see how much my moms side of the family has grown, there’s easily 45+ of us. You’d think that in a family that large we would be distant and not see each other often, but the truth is that we are close and tight knit and have each others back through thick and thin. You can feel that unconditional love when you go hug someone, that genuine two arm hug with a bit of a squeeze. I almost dont want to let go, and with some people, we stood just hugging each other in silence for at least a minute. Unspoken actions can sometimes speak the loudest.
I found myself in so many different conversations that night. But the one question that my Nonna (grandmother in Italian) always asks is, “when you going to bring the boyfriend to ma house? You so smart and so beautiful. You need a smarta boy”. Any Italian granddaughter, or any granddaughter really, can relate to that question! And its not just a one time question..it happens every time I see her! Regardless, I love her and her food with my entire life. Although there were plenty of adults, I spent a lot of time with the really little kids that night. You know, the ones that are just starting to walk, or even speak. Its the absolute best when you first see them and they’re super shy, but 15 minutes later you’re their best friend and they want to stay with you. Theres just so many different aspects of that night that I want to write about, but if I do that you’ll be reading thousands of words. But if I could sum it all up I would say…
It’s been two years since I’ve been able to really appreciate Christmas again. This year, the magic of the holiday season granted me the ability to appreciate all the thoughtful actions of those around me. I am so thankful for being able to spend another Christmas with all my grandparents that are simply getting older as the days go on. I feel privileged to be surrounded by my family, friends, and loved ones, this holiday season. I hope that all the little kids around the world were filled with the spirit of wonder when they awoke to gifts from Santa. For those who recognize that Santa isn’t a physical entity, I hope that their holiday was one that instilled the magic of Christmas. Thank you for gifting me a holiday season with minimal snow flakes, laughter, happiness, and most importantly, love.