There are pros and cons to growing up with a large family.

I love my sisters, and living less than an hour away from my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins lets me grow closer to them than I thought possible. However, 24/7 contact with the same people makes each day seem monotone and repetitive, and the little things just aren’t as special anymore.

Except for during Christmas. Because Christmas is the freaking best.

For two months out of the year —yes, I am counting November too, because Thanksgiving is entirely based on a lie, but that’s a different story — the holiday spirit takes over our family and make what used to be annoying, nagging cousins and all, seem special and festive.

Bored and have nothing to do? Go cut down a tree and throw some ribbons on it. Hungry but are mad that your mom hasn’t made dinner yet? Go bake some Christmas cookies for her in a passive-aggressive attempt to guilt her into making some real food.

Tired of hearing your grandparents lecture you about your lack of a significant other? Play some Michael Buble throughout the house to drown out whatever you don’t want to hear.

See? Family bonding made special. Don’t you feel all warm and fuzzy? Now who would want to limit that to just one month?

Even everyday things are more special when you say it’s for Christmas.

Take snow, for example. If it falls too early, like in October, everyone starts screaming about global warming and how we are all going to die. And by the time January hits, everyone is upset because they realize that they are going to have to deal with frozen roads and slush for the next three months — sometimes four if you live in Ohio — and they still think that everyone is going to die.

But when you say it’s Christmastime, screw road hazards, let’s let a bunch of horses drag us around on an archaic mode of transportation that went out of style for a reason.

Or you can look at your fireplace. I would be willing to  bet that almost 100 percent of fireplaces go unused until one person mentions how cute it looks in the movies when the whole family is sitting together by their tree in front of the fire. If you’re anti-fire, then I bet you have the video of a log burning playing on your TV so you still have the festive pre-industrial ambiance.  

All of these things that are completely useless for over 80 percent of the year are all of a sudden in high demand.

Now, I get that we don’t want to stomp all over Thanksgiving with our Santa boots. I personally don’t understand the people who leave their family dinners early so they can stand in a freezing cold line outside of Walmart for three hours. However, all I am saying is that putting up a tree and watching “Elf” after all the pumpkin pie is gone isn’t the worst idea either.

I always thought of the holiday season as a time when we could relax. The moment someone brought that first box of decorations up from the basement, a wave of comfort went over the whole family. Any conflicts over grades or medical bills went out the window, and instead we started appreciating each other more.

Because the whole point of the holiday season is to spend time with your family and loved ones — and to actually enjoy it.

There is something about saying that it’s Christmas that puts a filter on our everyday life, and makes us feel like everything is a little bit better. Just the thought of the holiday season puts a smile on the faces of even the Grinchiest of us, no matter what exams or deadlines we are stressed about. At least for me, I plan on celebrating Christmas from now until the New Year, because I’ll take all the instant happiness that I can get.

mintonak@miamioh.edu

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