Holidays: Then and Now

As college students, it’s hard to believe that we’re already defining our childhood as “the good ol’ days.” This time of year brings out the childlike nostalgia in all of us, as we reminiscence on the times when Santa was real, we got toys as presents and it was socially acceptable to stay in pajamas all day eating cookies and drinking chocolate milk.

Holidays will forever be a joyous time of year for anyone with a beating heart. But as we get older, this time of year calls for more responsibilities, money to spend and finals to do. As I procrastinate the 5 presentations, 4 projects, 3 essays and 27 other assignments that are due during the following week, I can’t help but wish I was a naïve 6-year-old enjoying this time of year to the fullest.

As kids, we had all the time in the world to make a gingerbread house, help our parents decorate or build a snowman with some friends. As independent semi-adults, our budgets and schedules cannot support the same level of holiday fun and preparation. We’re lucky if we can manage buying a mini tree for our dorms. The good news is our parents aren’t around to tell us that we can’t bake 7 packages of Pillsbury sugar cookies and eat them all in one sitting.

While we used to be afraid of the Grinch and his intense lack of Christmas cheer, it’s hard to not feel for the guy now. The Whoville enemy appears to be lonely, but really he would just rather spend his days in the comfort of his home, snuggling with his dog and eating as he pleases. Plus, he is completely secluded from all social interaction unless he decides otherwise. Sounds like a pretty great life to me.

Times were so much easier when Santa did all the work. I never appreciated everything my parents do during the holidays until I found myself in their shoes. All of a sudden, you can’t just wake up to an entire room full of presents just for you. In adulthood, you actually have to buy the presents, too. Naturally, you want to spoil your friends and family with everything they’ve ever wanted. But how are we supposed to give our loved ones the world when we have, like, 3 dollars to our name? Plus, the end of the semester doesn’t exactly allot free time to shop for presents.

Lastly, snow used to be this magical substance that meant no school, sledding all day and hot chocolate to wrap up hours of play. Today, snow means being late to work because your car is covered, walking to class in misery and struggling more than usual to face the outside world. The best part? A blizzard could be surrounding your town but bosses and professors will still expect you to make it to work and class.

It’s no secret that holidays are more exciting as a child. While we used to relate to the energy and childlike innocence that embodies Buddy The Elf, we can’t help but see a lot of ourselves in the hungry, socially secluded Grinch. As we get older, we must take part in the joys we never could before: giving presents rather than receiving, dressing our pets in embarrassing holiday costumes and eating as many sugar cookies as our stomachs can hold.