Get into the Holiday Spirit

Jacqueline Malzone '19
Guest Columnist

It is finally Christmastime! (Like officially; not that day-after-Halloween crap that had Elf memes plastering my Facebook newsfeed.) It is undoubtedly the best time of the year– everything is lit up beautifully, the crisp air brings the scent of snow, the best cookies are made, the jolliest songs are played, Starbucks cups are red, and of course we cannot forget about the endless Secret Santa exchanges! I don’t know how more people are not already getting into the spirit.

    I walked into my apartment after coming back from Thanksgiving in New Jersey, and my roommate says to me, “Aren’t you a strange little Jewish girl with your box of Christmas decorations!” My only response was that I was shocked that she did not have her own box of holiday décor! Yes, I am proudly Jewish, but the evergreen back at home is not a Channukah bush, it is a Christmas tree. The fireplace is lined with stockings, Santas and reindeer are scattered throughout the house, and a wreath hangs outside our front door.

    Christmas has never been about Jesus for me. Christmas is a time to be with family. It is one of the rare times that my siblings and I bond when we trim the tree and decorate the house, reminiscing over old Christmases and stories of past snow days. My Catholic grandma comes home from church to teach me all her special holiday recipes. I get the chance to prove how well I really know my family and friends when I find them the perfect gift and get to see the look of pure joy when they open them. 

I’m not the only Jew who loves Christmastime. I will never forget the time I bonded with my very Jewish grandfather over the holiday. We picked him up for lunch one day, and my dad went to turn off the Christmas music in the car, so as not to offend him. To our surprise, though, he scolded my father and made him put the music back on! His reason for loving the music? “Jews wrote those songs,” he said, so nonchalantly, as he went on to hum along with the tunes. Christmas is a time for spreading joy to everyone, regardless of religious background or upbringing. Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, and agnostics alike – we can all benefit from spreading a little Christmas cheer.

When you walk into my apartment, you are all but assaulted by the holiday explosion; but it feels like a hug when you sit on the couch, all the lights glowing and the smell of our seasonal candles wafting in the air. We go to law school, and as much as we all want to be here because we want to be lawyers, we have to admit (especially the 1Ls) that this time of year sucks for us. We spend as much time as possible in the library, meticulously editing outlines, stumbling through practice problems, and wondering what the future will hold for us. And let’s not even delve into the mess of anxiety people are feeling after the elections year. With all this stress just piling on, we need a source of comfort!

You might be wondering what makes me so sure that Christmas is the kind of comfort we require. There is proof that Christmas is comforting to people generally. Not many people at this school, I would guess, are old enough to remember a time when holiday music was not played non-stop on the radio for weeks before Christmas day. However, it was not until 9/11 that this became regular practice. The reason? People were scared and depressed and entertainers felt that putting all of us in the Christmas spirit would help give the nation hope and relax for a short while. This is why we need Christmas spirit now. Call it a distraction, call it a security blanket, call it whatever you like. But no matter who you are, it is okay to feel that Kris Kringle mood and want to spread a little joy to your fellow Lawhoos. If you are anywhere near as stressed and anxious as I am, then you could definitely use some cheer in your day.

So head over to Michael’s or Bed Bath and Beyond down at Barracks and pick up some string lights, a wreath, or a tree. Stop at Harris Teeter or Kroger and buy some eggnog and gingerbread cookies. Hop into Yankee Candle and get a crackling candle that smells like cookies. Switch from your usual playlist to the Christmas stations on Pandora or Spotify or iHeartRadio – whatever you prefer. Sit down and soak in the Christmas. Share it with your friends and take that deep breath and relax.

It might not be snowing in Charlottesville, but we can do everything else to make it the perfect holiday season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year– embrace it!