The Christmas season is time for drinking hot chocolate, watching horribly cheesy Hallmark movies, making snow angels, and spending time with loved ones. In my house, it is a somewhat similar variation, but I prefer to cut the snow angels, because my siblings and I have little patience for when snow gets into your gloves and nearly gives you frostbite. So let’s skip the “nature’s wonder” part and give us the rewarding cup of hot chocolate right away. The Christmas season is also a time when I see my family tensions melt away.
I belong to a family with six rambunctious, sassy, and intelligent characters of which I am lucky enough to be apart of. I am the third child out of four. And although my father likes to say that we are “American” only, I can assure you that some of our Italian heritage is the reason why our casual inside voices can be heard from two miles away. We are constantly yelling; to the outside observer, we are constantly angry, beating each other up, and could use a serious session of family group therapy; but this is just daily life. We are loud; we yell about our emotions, how hungry we are… we even yell about how much we yell. Do you want to come over to Christmas Eve dinner, yet? Introverts around the world are shuddering at such a chaotic environment.
While my siblings and I can get along famously, my younger sister and I particularly have always tended to “butt heads,” so to speak. It is the classic clash of younger sister/older sister. When she came into the world, I was the resident baby of the family for nearly six years, so I was very aware that I was being uprooted from my position. Not to mention, she was absolutely adorable and it was impossible not to love her. Cue six-year old jealousy, and a lot of resentment which lead to ridiculous fights over toys and other meaningless issues.
But Christmastime has always been different for us. While she and I have both become more mature (hopefully), this time of year is when we got along best. We bury the hatchet and take pleasure in simpler things; we bake things together, set up Christmas decorations, and watch Christmas movies while my parents go out at night to buy some last minute presents.
My favorite Christmas memory was when we all tried to sleep in the same room. My brother, along with my other two sisters, piled our mattresses into one of our bedrooms on Christmas Eve. We are a family who all discovered that Santa Claus wasn’t real at a very young age, but insisted on pretending that he still exists. (My mom, wanting to encourage the childlike faith, would ring sleigh bells outside our bedroom, whilst crying, “Do you hear that?! It’s Santa’s reindeer!” We all rolled our eyes, but secretly hoped it was true.)
The night was filled with laughter, my parents telling us to be quiet, and less sleep than we would’ve liked; but the feeling of immense love, peace, and harmony that night was unique to me, even to this day. It showed me the beauty of familial relationships; they are the ones you take for granted most readily, but truly the ones we should cherish forever.
Christmas is a season of joy, laughter, overeating, and time with loved ones; for me, it’s a new start. Even though my sister and I haven’t always gotten along, this time of year reminds me of what’s important, what is trivial, and what a gift it is to be surrounded by my sister and other loved ones, regardless of how loud and obnoxious we can be. So maybe this Christmas, you can dismiss the little arguments over who-knows-what and enjoy the presence of your loved ones, whoever they may be.