Tahnayee Clendinen, A&E Writer

Christmas is one time of year when everyone — big or small, old or young — can enjoy a wide selection of festivities and seasonal joy. The older we get though, it can seem that the winter season becomes a time for reminiscing about the pleasures of Christmas past.

Christmas should be seen as the time where even though it is different from when we were younger, it’s still that special time of year that gives a feeling like no other, a feeling that can be described  as pure joy.

These are a few of my favorite things that get me through the season:

1. Decorations

At the start of December, it is always a pleasure to walk through the aisles of grocery stores, super-centers and malls alike and find a plethora of decorations, wrapping paper and ornaments ready to be purchased.

The stores seem to have a better aura about them. Other customers seem friendlier and willing to  share a smile. Homes become cozier. The world just seems like a better place.

2. Decorating the Tree

Decorating a Christmas tree is different from hanging decorations anywhere else. The tree is where your parents hang the ornaments you made in elementary school. It is where you sit every night talking and laughing. When we were little, it was the ultimate spot to sit and try to guess what the presents could be.

Christmas trees are essential because it is where you can have your own personal Christmas. Each tree is unique to each home. The tree is simply the heart of each family’s holiday.

3. Ugly Sweater Christmas Parties

No one can deny a great “Ugly Sweater” party. Guests show up wearing that awful sweater they found in the furthest corner of Goodwill. Maybe Grandma decided that the brightest red yarn worked best with neon greens and yellows on the sweater that would eventually adorn her grandchild. Whatever was the reason for the sweater or where it was found, it’s parties like these that say: “Christmas is here.”

4. Giving and Receiving Presents

Usually, people like receiving gifts just as much as they love giving them. The best part about giving gifts is the reaction you get — a huge smile, scream or crazy dance — when people open them.

When getting a gift, we feel special, loved and so warm and fuzzy inside that we are in a moment of complete bliss even if it’s a crappy gift, because it’s the thought that counts.

5.Christmas Morning

Aside from our birthdays, Christmas morning as children was one of the best days of our lives. Christmas morning for us now is still important, it’s just significant for different reasons. When we were younger, it was about seeing that special present under the tree. Now, it’s about loved ones, gratitude and being thankful for everyone and everything around us. Don’t get me wrong though, gifts are still a great part of the atmosphere too.

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