Although I’m not a religious person, I love the holidays. Call it Hannukah, Solstice, Yule, Christmas, or whatever else; I love this season. The twinkling and flickering lights in the darkness of the long nights. The gathering of loved ones. The making and eating of special foods. The crispness of the outdoors and the coziness of indoors. I love it all.
Luckily, I only ever spent one December alone. My first year at university, in a city on the other side of the country from my family, I sat in an empty high rise dorm completely alone in the dark, ate shortbread from the cafeteria, and was totally miserable. I’ll never forget what being alone at the holidays felt like.
I haven’t always spent them with family. Sometimes I was with coworkers, friends, or schoolmates. But people are the key ingredient. All the warm drinks and cozy fires and twinkling lights in the world feel empty without someone to share them with.
Nowadays, my family and I go see the lights with friends who live near a street famous for them. We attend the pantomime show with my husband’s family. We host an open house for all our family, friends, and neighbours. We started caroling with some other young families in our neighbourhood. We go to the light up at the legislature grounds with some of my family. Again, I love it all.
I love it all because it all involves people. It gives me a push to connect with some I otherwise might not see that often. Gift giving gives me a push to think about ways I might bring joy into the lives of people I care about. Even something as simple as receiving Christmas cards serves as a powerful reminder of the web of ties that surround us, there to enrich us in good times and support us in bad.
If you are lucky enough to have people in your life, I encourage you to take this opportunity to reach out to them. If you don’t, this might be a good reminder to get out there and find some.
The year after my miserably solitary holiday, I discovered some distant relatives living near my school and shared their Christmas. We became good friends from that point on.
I wish you a very happy holiday, and a New Year filled with wonderful people and experiences. Take care.