Independent Holiday Cheer

Nov 032004
Authors: Kelly Hagenah

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.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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