Just a couple more days until Christmas day!
I really love this season. It’s not just one or two specific things about it that I look forward to. It’s more the general spirit of it. It’s about the holiday movies, the Christmas music, the frantic shopping, the lights and glitter, and, of course, the heartwarming get-togethers with our loved ones.
There are a lot of successes to celebrate throughout each year and a lot of failures to learn from. A lot of happy moments and a little bit of down time. But at the end of every year, this season just tops off everything nicely – regardless of how the rest of your year went.
Here a few things I personally love about Christmas:
1. The nostalgia
I’m a sucker for nostalgia, and there’s no better season to bring it out than Christmas. We all have our Christmas memories, and the feelings that come with them, that we just yearn to relive. We never quite get to, and that was a little frustrating for me for a while. Then I realized and accepted that no two Christmas experiences will ever be exactly the same and that’s perfectly fine. Now I just live for those tiny bits of nostalgia that get sprinkled throughout the season, like hearing a Christmas tune you haven’t heard in a while.
This year is particularly special as it’s my daughter Harper’s first Christmas. Now I have several years ahead of recreating for her the same Christmas joy I felt as a child myself. I won’t be able to replicate the exact same things, but establishing traditions that she herself will grow to have fond memories of – that’s something I hope to accomplish as a parent.
2. The transformation
The whole world just transforms during Christmas time. In the Philippines, it’s a pretty gradual change starting some time in September. But by December, things go full blast. Neighbors’ houses start lighting up. Streets get lined with beautiful lights and displays. Malls and hotels try to top each other to create the perfect Christmas ambiance. (On the downside, traffic gets pretty unbearable around this time.)
In my mother’s last few months in 2013 before she passed from cancer, she asked me, when September came around, whether the malls already had their Christmas displays up. Unfortunately, they didn’t just yet. So we did that transformation at home instead and it was the best Christmas decorating we’d ever done (with professional help, of course). It made my mother’s year. Just goes to show how powerful these visual transformations can be, as mundane as it may seem.
3. The merrymaking
Here in the Philippines, that means not just a feast, but several feasts in a row. Yes, we get together with every which side of our families and eat with them, often within the span of two days (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). In fact, on Christmas eve, a lot of people (myself included) can expect to eat two dinners. That’s not to count all the friends we make an effort to meet around this time, pre and post Christmas day.
If that sounds unhealthy, there’s no doubt about it. On the other hand, there’s nothing that brings people together quite like a good Christmas feast, and it’s personally one of my favorite parts of the season. Meeting people we care about but don’t see very often is always worth the effort. Not to mention, the food’s always pretty good.
4. The time off work
I suppose this part is what a lot of working people look forward to. I personally look forward to it, too. Not to say I don’t like working, but everyone needs a break once in a while. In the 12 years I spent at my previous job, the few times I came close to throwing in the towel always started with a feeling around November. And every time after the Christmas break, things always turned out just fine and I couldn’t imagine why I wanted to quit in the first place. Yes, burnout is a terrible thing. (Of course, this year I finally left my job but it was on a positive step forward and thankfully not just a result of burnout.)
This year will be the first time in a while that I get a whole two weeks off of work. The great thing is, I’ve never had this much time off since Harper was born in February, so bonding with her more than usual is something I definitely look forward to doing a lot over the break.
That’s it for this list. But I have to say, the magic of the season could never be encompassed in just a few things. It’s always a combination of everything – both the good and not so good. And I really hope you get to experience that magic this Christmas season. I don’t doubt that I will.
Have a wonderful, wonderful holiday season, everyone!
What are your favorite things about the holidays? Let me know in the comments as I’d love to hear from you!
Dexter is an engineering manager at Synacy, a co-founder of ATeam Business Software Solutions, and founder of TechManagement.Life. He loves to share his experiences and thoughts on managing software teams and running businesses.