Even at 26, I don’t think I truly understood the true spirit of Christmas until today.  As a child, I was the get up at the wee dawn hours, shake the gifts, plunder the contents of my stocking -type of girl.  Then as a teenager and young 20-something, that sparkle and excitement faded away and some how left a hollow feeling like something was missing.  I later learned this is called growing up.

I’ve never spent a Christmas away from my family, and this year will be no different.  But two years ago, I was living on a different continent and went out with my apartment-mates to buy a £7, 2.5 foot tree from Tesco.  We each bought an ornament to decorate it with, and some purple lights.  We decorated it together and had a great time doing it.  I choose these 4″ silver glitter snowflakes and carefully packed them when I moved back to this continent. 

Today, I travelled into the bowels of Queens to Target to buy myself a small, fake, 3 foot tree.  I was excited to get the holidays started; I loaded 8 CD’s of Christmas music onto my ipod and hopped on the bus.  I managed to find the LAST 3 foot, $10 tree, threw in some colored lights and headed back to my humble abode. 

In an effort to make the moment headier and more important than it was, I put on some Christmas music and tried to get into the spirit.  I assembled my Made in China tree, added the lights, and dug out the ornaments I had collected during my travels.

Here’s where the lesson comes in – decorating a Christmas tree, with no one to help and no one to share it with, is a most hollow and disappointing experience. 

And so, at 26 I’ve learned the true meaning of the holiday – that it’s not about the presents, the tree, the shiny lights, the feeling of being bundled up against the cold – (and I don’t mean to sound contrite or cliche)…

…it’s having friends and family to share it with.

To all my friends and family,

may your holidays be blessed not with monetary or material things, but with the company of those you love.

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