Sometimes It's Easier to Hate Christmas

As I’ve gotten older, it has become harder to enjoy the Christmas season. I remember when I was younger and I would count the days until Christmas from the beginning of the school year. I loved getting to decorate our house and seeing all the lights being put up on the streets in my town and Christmas music made me happy no matter how down I felt. Christmas used to feel like such a magical time—maybe because it lined up with school break and snow days; but even if that was the case it felt magical nonetheless. Now, Christmas feels like a burden that I’m trying to be excited about because I feel expected to love it like I used to. But, everything else around the Christmas season makes me hate it.

Now that I’m in university and work a part-time job, December doesn’t mean getting to open up an advent calendar for a simple piece of chocolate, nor does it mean final days of fun at school while teachers let us enjoy our time because we were too unfocused to learn anything anyway. December is now associated with busy shifts at a retail job, endless hours of finishing large papers before the end of term and studying for however many exams my Fall term entails. It’s hard to think about the magic of Christmas while being stressed about grades, and by the time I have a chance to relax and enjoy the Christmas season, it’s over because of how close the end of the exam period falls to Christmas.

I love the feeling that Christmas is supposed to bring, and I love the idea of Christmas being about spending time with your loved ones. However, in retail I’m constantly bombarded with the importance of gift-buying and money around Christmas. I have longer and more shifts to cover the craziness that is the holiday season and yet I’m constantly stressed about having the money to afford gifts for my family even if they insist they don’t want anything material. Because of my job, I also have to worry about the fact that I won’t be able to see my family for any extended amount of time over the Christmas season because I’m only guaranteed to not work on Christmas day. Yet, I have to try and make the time for multiple Christmases with my mom, my dad and my significant other’s family. Therefore, my holiday season has become more about the stress of not having the time or the money I require to experience Christmas the way it’s “supposed” to be experienced.

Being a student in addition to working makes it even harder to enjoy Christmas because everything around me in November and December encourages me to be stressed. The happy and festive mood is hard to be a part of for very long because, even if I do get excited about Christmas for a little bit, I eventually have to reverse back into school mode and the mindset that it entails. The mindset of a student isn’t complementary to the holiday season.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving Christmas, and even now as I’ve been writing this I’m aghast at myself for even thinking about hating Christmas because that’s not really what I feel. I don’t hate Christmas; I just hate what Christmas has become to me currently because I can’t experience it the way I want to. Christmas has become a time of stressing about assignments, making money and trying to make time for my family around school and work. My mind is constantly torn between loving and hating December and the holiday season because I’m overwhelmed.

I know with some work I—and all the other students fighting with a similar love/ hate relationship with the holiday season—can overcome that feeling and take back the festive spirit that makes Christmas so special, even if this year isn’t the year that it happens. I’m sure that eventually my relationship with Christmas will be back to what it was when I was young, and it will become a time I treasure again: a time of magic, family and joy.

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