COLUMN: Idea of Christmas shifts with age

Elizabeth Smith

When you’re a kid, Christmas is one of the most magical and fun-filled times of the year. The excitement at the thought of Santa coming on Christmas Eve keeps you up at night, making you toss and turn until the morning. You wake your parents up early and run to the tree. Then once you get to a certain age, whether it’s your parents telling you or seeing your gifts from “Santa” hidden in your parent’s closet, you learn the truth and then Christmas seems to lose that magical feeling.

When I was ten, I finally admitted to my mom that I no longer believed in Santa. However, the excitement was still there because my little sister still believed. At that point, I felt that I was in a part of a secret. For years, I’d help my mom come up with creative ideas on how to move the Elf on the Shelf and stocking stuffer ideas for my sister. Seeing her face light up when she saw what Santa left or where the elf moved to made me so happy. 

Last year, about a week before Christmas, my sister told us that she no longer believed in Santa. That’s when Christmas truly changed. I had just turned 16 a few days prior and I had already begun to feel like I was an adult,  because after that, I just couldn’t get excited for Christmas anymore. It began to feel like just another day. 

On Christmas Day every year, my family goes to my grandparent’s house. That year being around the family members I didn’t get to see very much throughout the year, instantly cheered me up. Joking around with my cousins, talking to my aunts and uncles, watching my grandparents opening presents, it made my whole day.  

When you’re a young kid presents and Santa are the biggest things that make Christmas magical. When you’re the oldest child, seeing your family excited and happy makes Christmas magical. As you begin to grow older you realize that Christmas isn’t a materialistic day, but a day about making memories and honoring traditions with your loved ones.