Ways to enjoy the holidays this year

By Alex King – Contributing Writer

Just because the economy is suffering doesn’t mean your holiday spirits have to take a dive as well.

Even if you never felt the seasonal cheer, now is the perfect time to start.  No matter what your religious affiliation happens to be, take a closer look at the so-called “Christmas Spirit,” and you’ll see that its message extends beyond Christianity.

Personally, I do not claim any religion, but I have always felt a sense of spirituality, especially around Christmas time.  It comes as no surprise to me when I think about it— family is the cause of my elation.  That is why I encourage you, regardless of religion or lack-there-of, to embrace your own definition of the Christmas Spirit.

For students and teachers who barely get a break (especially during Thanksgiving…  yeah, I went there), it’s important to relax and unwind.  But sometimes just a month-long vacation isn’t enough to melt away all of our worries.  Sometimes we need the promise of peace, the renewal of a new year.

End disputes, make resolutions, or accomplish something you’ve been neglecting.  The true sacrilege would be wasting the ample amount of time you’re given over the holidays while you’ve still got it.  As college students, unless you’re planning on becoming a teacher, we’re spiraling toward full-time jobs at a quickening pace.  Take advantage of the long break.

Then there’s the obvious message of generosity that we often lose sight of or ignore. We come to see Christmas as a time to get the gifts we don’t feel like working for or spending our own money on.  In doing this, we lose sight of the most wonderful gift we don’t even have to ask for— family.

Even if you have a difficult family situation, you can still involve yourself in your community.  Or you can use the alone time to rekindle your inner flame by the fire.  You’ve got about a month off, so I suggest you use it however you like.  Be good to yourself, and be good to others.

I also urge you, in these tough economic times, to ask for less.  Instead, use the time with your friends and family to reflect on all they do for you year-round.  You can give them a great gift just by going easy on their wallets.  Although some vague economists tell you to spend-spend-spend, you should consider spending money on what’s important this year, instead of just giving or getting what you want.

Keep in mind there is nothing written in stone saying the holiday season has to be about a messiah, and the celebration can extend beyond the eight days of Hanukkah.  If you remember one thing over break, remember that nostalgia is the true power behind a holiday.  (And if you got nothing from this article, consider the possibility that you may be a scrooge.)

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