Spread love during snowy holiday season

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Austin Yattoni

A photo of a women walking down the sidewalk on University Avenue north of Beckman Institute on December 4.

By Brandon Zegiel , Columnist

Christmas, a national holiday celebrated by nine in every 10 American people, seems to gain cultural steam every year — so much so that even Starbucks draws in extra money using its beloved Christmas-patterned cups and special holiday blends.

And while people drink their coffee, they use that extra energy to shop a little longer, increasing the revenue and amount spent on a holiday that generates some of the best consumerism.

Shopping for others is fun, as every year I try to get my family and close friends something special. I am not going to deny that finding a perfect gag gift for my sister is a humorous experience. But the idea behind the perfect gag gift is not the physical item that gets wrapped, then put under the tree. It is about the moment when the giver watches the receiver unwrap it. Typically, I also wrap the gift for my sister extra specially, taking the time to make sure the tape covers every crease, so it’s nearly impossible to open it.

I am that annoying younger brother for sure, but she has no choice of whether to love me or not. And for many of us, that’s what family is about. It’s the unconditional love we have for each other when we sit on Christmas night, drinking our tea or coffee and talking about the new year ahead.

I love Christmas time because of that spirit, and it’s undeniable that I love winter break, where a whole month is given to me for freedom to do whatever I want. Recognizing the importance of family, and the non-universal nature of it, I do my best to appreciate the love my parents show for my sister and me, which essentially is the greatest gift of all.

And while some people dislike their families for various, often justified reasons, it is still important to acknowledge our connections with them. Sometimes it can be hard, and there are certainly situations where family members don’t deserve our love, but the challenge of bonding with them is often worthwhile.

I’ve been in one of those minor annoying situations, where my family laughs as funny videos or stories of me in my past are brought up, or I look at my uncle in disbelief shocked that words even came from his mouth.

But the reality is that I love the videos, stories and funny relatives, because they are my one and only family, offering me support, laughs and memories unlike any I can ever experience with anyone else. The holiday season — and for me, Christmas — is a great time to bond with family and create those memories to laugh about together later.

Whether it’s putting up the tree together, waiting for a peppermint latte or taking a vacation somewhere else, there are cherished memories to keep. That is what Christmas means to me.

Bottom line, even if an individual hates Christmas or their preferred holiday, family should still matter.  This holiday season, I hope my fellow students can find reasons to love their families. For in some cases, they are the greatest gifts of all.

Brandon is a sophomore in LAS.

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