Column: Where’s the spirit?

School stress reveals true cause of diminished Christmas cheer


Caroline Smith

Whether it be because of school work, a lack of snow, or other responsibilities, students often find themselves lacking Christmas spirit.

Nick Smith, Staff Reporter

Where’s the spirit?

It was Christmas Day and I was irritated.

No, it wasn’t because I didn’t get what I wanted to for Christmas. I am very fortunate to have amazing, loving parents that gave gifts that I most likely didn’t deserve.

No, it wasn’t because I didn’t have a “White Christmas.” I have already come to terms with myself over five years living in Texas that asking for snow on Christmas is like asking for consistent weather here.

And it wasn’t because I had WHAP homework over the break. Thank you Mr. Gore for understanding students would much rather receive coal than homework.

It was the fact that my Christmas spirit was non-existent. My heart was two sizes too small. Sugarplums did not dance in my head Christmas Eve. I wasn’t having a merry Christmas, I wasn’t rocking around the Christmas tree, and my Navidad was not feliz.

So despite being able to see all of my family in Pennsylvania the previous weekend and then having my grandparents here for Christmas Day, despite having a plethora of gifts to open, and despite having a glowing Christmas tree to look at as Bing Crosby sang “White Christmas,” my Christmas spirit did not sit with me on the couch Christmas morning.

Who was the culprit? Who came in the night like the Grinch dressed as Santa Claus and robbed me of my merry spirit? Who stole away my time that should have been spent listening to holiday music and eating mountains of cookies?

It was (scoffs in disgust) school.

I spent endless hours studying for tests that came, for some reason, the week before finals, then completing overly-large finals reviews, taking the finals themselves, and then spending the rest of the week stressing until my grades came in. School was the thief who swiped my holiday cheer and replaced it with a towering pile of work to complete and anxiety as an added bonus. Right?

I could simply place all the blame for my lack of Christmas spirit on school, but that would be too easy. I had to dig deeper into this stocking full of emotional coal.

I realized that while the school work and finals were difficult at the time, I am still standing today. School didn’t rob me of most of my time; there was still time left over that could have been spent falling in a cookie coma or listening to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” repeatedly until my nose turned red.

It was me who didn’t have my priorities in order when it came to Christmas time. I put the school and grades that are only temporarily important ahead of the most wonderful time of the year that is eternally important.

But it wasn’t just that.

My definition of Christmas and Christmas spirit has changed as I grow up. No longer are presents and cookies the things I look forward to, but family and giving gifts. Instead of mindlessly belting out “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” I am slowly understanding Mariah Carey, in that people you love are more important that whatever gifts Santa brings (although I can only sing that song to my dog if you think of its true essence).

I think this change from a materialistic Christmas to a family Christmas is for the good though. Just ask Mr. Scrooge.

So in 2016, I’m resolving to put my focus on the people who really matter and make the holidays what they are. And hopefully when December rolls around next year, it won’t be another repeat of “Last Christmas.”