It’s coming … and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
Today is the 4th of November, and while you may have been too
distracted by the elections to notice, the holiday season has
fallen upon us.
I love the holidays. I love the warmth and kindness they bring.
I love that the holiday season disguises itself as an excuse to
eat, shop, drink and socialize, and even though that is not what it
is all about, it’s still pretty fun.
I love giving gifts and receiving cards filled with pictures and
those updates I never read. I love the music; and despite the fact
that it’s a little ridiculous how early it actually starts playing,
I will admit that I look forward to belting out Mariah Carey’s “All
I want for Christmas.”
I love that strangers are more willing to smile as they pass you
by and that the snow begins to feel less like a hassle and more
like a white wonder.
However, there is one thing I grit my teeth at within the
holiday season, and that is the pressure and expectations
“unconsciously” placed upon relationships.
Every ad we see has something to do with finding that perfect
gift for that special someone. Almost every classic holiday movie
revolves around a romance, especially a highly unrealistic one that
results in us getting our hopes up, single or attached. A common
question asked among acquaintances concerns who we are spending the
holidays with, and while we know they don’t exactly mean it, we
cannot help but think they’re inquiring about a significant other,
or lack thereof.
Whether you are single or attached during the holiday season,
there is an underlying feeling of incompleteness, often placed in
correlation with romantic relationships.
When you’re single, it seems as if there are couples in love
surrounding you. Happy couples sharing hot chocolate, snuggling by
the fire, giving one another the gift that beats all gifts, and we
wind up saddened by our independence.
On the other hand, when we are in a relationship, it seems as if
we should be sharing romantic holiday moments with our significant
other, while in reality, things like that rarely happen. But if
they do, they don’t exactly face up to our high expectations, so we
too end up disappointed. And while I am sure that there are those
people out there who have it great and perfect, I feel assured that
the majority of us have experienced something along these
However, what I want to emphasize here is that whether we are
single or attached, the focus of the approaching holidays needs to
be readjusted to the importance of ourselves. I am not saying that
friends, family and significant others should become any less
important, because we are co-dependent on them for legitimate and
considerable reasons. But that’s the thing; we are only
co-dependent, and in the end it always comes back to us, to our
independent identity (that while shaped by interactions with
others,) can only be created by you.
How often do we really appreciate ourselves? How often do we
focus on making ourselves happy, on taking time to do the things we
want to do? I’m not saying that we need to be selfish, but I am
saying that we need to remember to treat ourselves as well as we
want others to treat us. That we shouldn’t depend on relationships
to fulfill every wish or expectation we have, and that we should
take advantage of the relationship we can have all on our own.
So as the holiday season progresses, and as the pressures upon
relationships and Kodak moments increase, remember that in the end
you have the ability make yourself happy. Remember to not only show
your appreciation to the people whom you love and cherish but also
to yourself as well. Sit by the fire and enjoy a mug of hot
chocolate on your own, because you don’t need anyone else to make
something possible. And remember that while being in love can be
incredible, and friends and family are priceless, the relationship
you have with yourself is truly one of a kind.
Kelly Hagenah is a senior speech communication major. Her column
usually runs on Tuesdays in the Collegian.