The Christmas season was my favorite time of year. I loved the lights, the snow (if Cleveland weather gave us any), the never ending production of every kind of delicious cookie there is, and the one thing I loved the most was Christmas morning. In the past years of my life, I would lie awake in my bed all night Christmas Eve anxiously waiting to see what Santa brought me. I would barely sleep a wink, and wake up my entire family at 6:30 in the morning so I could go tear open the ridiculous amount of gifts under our tree. This year, however; was different. I am 17 years old, and Christmas just doesn’t seem to bring the same joy as it did when I was a kid. This Christmas I was stressed out because I didn’t know what presents to get all of my friends and family, anxious because the 25th was creeping up on me faster than I expected and I had nothing to give, and finally I was just not that thrilled to see what my parents bought me. This year, instead of lying awake in my nice toasty bed excited for the next morning, I was awake all night finishing putting together my family’s gifts, exhausted and frustrated at why my feelings toward Christmas were so negative this year. Then I thought to myself, is all this stress and frustration really worth it? Does it really matter how much money I spend on someone, and if their gift is perfect? At that moment I realized that it wasn’t.
Christmas morning this year went just like all my past Christmas mornings. My brother woke up the entire family at 8:00 and we opened up all of our gifts that took endless hours of shopping and driving around to buy and wrap, in about twenty minutes. My dad loved his new Browns pajama pants, my mom was excited to use her spa certificate, my brother ran right to his room after opening his new video game, and I did enjoy my new roller blades. However, I still felt like there was something missing. I was excited about my gifts for a little bit, but then that excitement vanished. I began thinking about the gifts I received in the past. Three years ago I got a camera that I ended up breaking in the summer. Two years ago I got an Ipod that I took really good care of, but dropped once and it broke. Last year I got a top of the notch softball bat, which ended up getting stolen at one of my softball games. After realizing that every nice thing I owned had not lasted no matter how hard I tried to make them, it came to me that materialistic things would never give me or anyone happiness.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”(Denis Waitley). If I wrote a letter to Santa it would go like this:
All I want for Christmas is to find true happiness.
I believe that Santa’s response to that letter would be the gift of the power to help other people make their lives better. He would give me the gift of finding peace within nature’s beauty, and the beauty of simple things around me such as the smiling face of a child so young and full of life. His gift of happiness to me would not be an expensive purse, clothing, electronic or a car. His gift to me would be the power to love and be loved. He would give me the gift of faith and hope when I’m sad, and the power to live every moment of my life with gratitude for what I am blessed with, and not let me obsess over what I want. Materialistic things do not last, however, the power of love and faith does. I believe that a person who can find a sense of tranquility in a beautiful song, a pretty picture, or a magnificent smelling flower, and a person who feels joy in their heart after helping someone in need, is the person who will ultimately live a long life full of pure happiness.
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