The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
The year is 2015. My friends are trying to learn the precocious “Jingle Bell Rock” Mean Girls dance. My Spanish teacher is attempting to teach us to sing “All I Want for Christmas is You” in Spanish. The student council is decking the halls of our school with wreaths and garlands. And I, freshly twelve years old, walk through the halls of my middle school hoping nobody will ask me what I want for Christmas. Because the answer, “nothing” doesn’t really make sense, and the answer “my family doesn’t really do Christmas (and no, we’re not Jewish either)” kind of brings down the mood.
I always felt a little uncomfortable around Christmas, growing up. My family just doesn’t celebrate anything. And scrolling through Instagram and seeing friends’ piles of Christmas gifts was always a little disheartening. My dad always said, “if you really need something, just ask for it and we can get it”. Which is nice in theory, but something about the idea of a present — the surprise, the thoughtfulness, the indulgence of it — was all little middle school me wanted around Christmas time.
And then, towards the end of high school, things shifted. Don’t get me wrong; I still love a good gift. My birthday is my favorite day of the year. But I’ve stopped comparing my holiday traditions with other people. I go skating. I make hot chocolate. I don’t need a Christmas tree or a pile of presents to enjoy my winter break. I don’t feel pressure to spend time with extended family, or to buy a bunch of things for everyone I know. I don’t have anything against a big Christmas, but I’ve never had it and I don’t feel I need it anymore.
I don’t think we should assume anyone spends their holidays in any certain way. And we should definitely quit asking people what they got for Christmas! Everyone has their own traditions, so you can’t really get Christmas wrong. I don’t need Christmas gifts; I prefer giving and receiving gifts spontaneously. And I don’t need a big old tree, but do I like some lights strung up outside. It’s all about personal preference!
I know it might seem really Grinchy of me to bash Christmas. Like I’m ‘missing out on the magical spirit of the holiday’ or something. But a large part of the holiday is nostalgia, and so perhaps if I’d grown up with Christmas, I would feel more inclined to carry out the tradition. I think I was raised as more of a Halloween girl, or even a Valentine’s Day fiend. Christmas and I just don’t vibe; the consumerism and the pressure just doesn’t seem like something I feel the need to participate in.
I have no idea whether, when I’m older, I’ll want to celebrate Christmas with my hypothetical kids. But as for right now, I’m perfectly happy without it. If only I could time-travel back to 2015 and tell my little twelve-year-old self to quit comparing her winter break to everyone else’s. This break is really just time for yourself and your loved ones, and whether you want to call that Christmas is entirely up to you!