By Diana Cruz
They say as you get older, the holidays tend to feel less special. There is more pressure to give the perfect gift, more work to be done to host guests, and less magic in waking up to presents under the tree. As much as I can understand the added pressures around the holidays as an adult, I can also say that there is so much more to be grateful for as I become more aware every year of what truly matters.
This year, I can say I feel blessed enough to travel home to a family that means the world to me. The people, food, and shelter that I had become accustomed to and overlooked as gifts in themselves are now what makes my heart feel full. Seeing the happiness in my niece and nephew’s eyes as they rip apart wrapping paper (even on gifts that aren’t theirs) are moments that I will always hold on to. The love that my family encompasses is one like no other, and that is something that can never be gift-wrapped. Despite the hiccups and miscommunications that we experience, as I’m sure many others do, I can never thank them enough for the support and love that they unconditionally provide. That is what makes our home warm even on the coldest of days. The holidays for me this year remind me of all the simple things that we typically take for granted, but I know I would be lost without.
Don’t get me wrong, the holidays can be stressful and calls for tons of preparation, but at the end of the day, nothing beats being able to spend time with those closest to you. Being home for the holidays is a gift in itself, and something I cannot undervalue. This holiday season, I urge you to remind all of your loved ones of how special they truly are to you. It is these healthy, fulfilling relationships and connections that we must cherish and nurture. As I continue to grow and recognize the importance of those who surround me with support and love, I continue to feel an enormous sense of gratitude and fulfillment. From the warmth of my home to yours, I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season!