For me, the month of December is more than simply awaiting a pile of gifts wrapped under a Christmas tree. Its spirit is greater than cheesy hallmark movies, scorching hot chocolate that burns the tongue, or even eagerly watching the clock tick down to the first day of winter break.
Because for me, December is not just Christmas. It's the month to be a little kinder, a little more generous, a little more forgiving. Christmas is the month for hope-- no matter what a person is going through, December is the time to look ahead and plan to change the future, to be surrounded by family and friends and love.
Maybe that's why I'm writing to you tonight. It might be a useless cause but I'm determined for my voice to be heard. For my ideas to be voiced.
Because this emphasis on the quality of the gift rather than the love attached to it-- it's not healthy. Presents are indeed nice to receive, but my favorite memories don't come from unwrapping a gift all by my lonesome.
When I was about ten or eleven, my family had just moved to Texas, having previously lived in Indiana for three years. It was our first Christmas in the Lone Star State, and my brother and I ran out at the break of dawn into our tiny living room to see what you had brought us. My brother, however, immediately counted the difference in gifts, prompting my father to grow upset. "It doesn't matter how many you got," he told us, face red and puffy. "You need to be grateful that Santa brought you anything at all. Some kids don't get any."
I'll never forget that moment. My father's angry expression, my brother's crocodile tears, my own silence: the memory is seared into my brain like a brand.
Last week, I was at my grandmother's house, helping her decorate. At the end, she pulled out an album of all Christmases past and it warmed my heart. Photos of our family lined the pages, frozen in time, accompanied by stories.
That is the kind of December we should all remember, together with our loved ones, because it's not about the newest models of toys, games, or technologies. Life is so much deeper than that. So is December. So is any month of the year, really, if we have the courage to face each day with a new mindset focused on bettering ourselves and each other. Acts of random kindness, volunteering opportunities, caroling-- it all counts.
Recently, a coach of mine lost his wife to a horrible disease, and as I was walking to school, I realized that this would be the family's first Christmas without her. The holidays are rough when you're alone, but even more so when you've lost someone close to you. I guess what I'm trying to say is... no one should have to be alone for the upcoming season.
For December. For life.
We're all human. We're all in this together. Why not unite to spread love throughout the holiday season and beyond, no matter race, religion, gender? Why not try to spread Christmas cheer all year long?
The materials of this world are temporary in the fact we outgrow them, physically and mentally. But the way we make someone feel-- that's forever. The memories we endow upon one another-- they last.
So, Santa. This is my Christmas wish.
To make the world a better place in spite of overwhelming odds. In spite of the darkness.
You may not be real, but you are a reservoir of hope. The magic that every kid believes in.