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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I absolutely love the holidays, and by love, I mean LOVE the holidays. The music, the lights, the baked goods, the gifts, the Christmas Market pictures clogging up my Instagram feed...it’s my favorite season! I was the kid who came to school on the last day before the holiday break wearing an ugly sweater and a Santa hat. I was the kid who put up a Christmas tree in early December and refused to take it down until February. I was the kid who didn’t let anyone else wrap the gifts or make the cards because I was a little holiday perfectionist. And I guess I’m still that kid. That’s what makes the holiday season so special - it takes you back to a simpler time and makes you feel like a kid again.

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But this year, the holidays are going to look a lot different. If you’re in Toronto or the GTA, chances are you’ll be in lockdown. No last-minute shopping at the mall, no get-togethers and no in-person Secret Santa gift exchanges. Many of us are not able to see our friends and family members, and for some of us, it will be our first holiday season without a loved one that was lost to COVID-19. This year really put things into perspective. A global pandemic, racial injustice and climate disasters, among many other things, has forced us to reevaluate who we are, how we live, and what kind of a world we want to be a part of.

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This holiday season is different, but different doesn’t have to be bad. Without the hustle and bustle that we would normally be facing during this time, we get the chance to slow down and reflect. We discover what the true meaning of the holidays is. It isn’t about the gifts, the lights or the cookies. It’s about people.

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Remember not to take anything or anyone for granted. We’ve seen how unpredictable life can be. We don’t know what the future has in store. All we really know is that there are people out there who matter to us and who we matter to. Don’t wait for them to be gone for you to come to this realization.

This holiday season, let’s do things differently. Let’s slow down. Let’s log off. Let’s actually spend time with the people we live with. Let’s give back. Let’s check up on those who may be struggling a little extra this year. Most importantly, let’s look at the silver lining.

Riya is an Indian-Canadian writer from Richmond Hill, Ontario. She is in her first year in the teaching program at York University! Riya has been writing her entire life; she joined Her Campus to connect with others who have the same passion and share her ideas on topics including politics, lifestyle, and well-being. Her favourite thing about writing is that it can be approached and interpreted differently by each individual based on their own personal experiences. When she is not writing, she can be found watching movies, painting, volunteering in her community, or listening to music - she has song lyrics running through her head 24/7! Riya lives by the quote; “To the world, you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
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