What Would Julia Do: This Christmas, stay merry

happy-holidays-wwjd

Julia Mach, Religion Editor

As the semester ends, we can all now (hopefully) let out a big sigh of relief. Another semester is over and we can finally enjoy the upcoming holidays.

I am already humming overplayed Christmas songs, eating chocolate from my Advent calendar and buying Christmas cookies to bake.

Perhaps it’s cliché, but I can honestly say that Christmas is my favorite holiday.

I know that I may have grown too old to say this, but I still believe in the magic of Christmas. I still get those jitters when Christmas Eve rolls around.

On Christmas Eve, I have always spent it with my father’s side of the family without fail. Since my family is Polish, we celebrate something called Wigilia, which means there is absolutely no meat to be eaten on Christmas Eve.

We say our prayers and blessings before the tradition of the oplatek, or unleavened Christmas wafers, made usually only with pure wheat flour and water. They are used more for symbolism than for the taste, though they do taste better with some honey. Each person gets their own wafer of oplatek. Each person goes around the room, giving blessing to everyone else at the table for the upcoming new year, starting with the oldest and finishing with the youngest. Finally, the food can be served and the rest of Christmas Eve can commence.

On Christmas Day, my parents and I would exchange gifts. My father and I would always go “halves” on my mother’s Christmas gift, but often my father paid for the whole gift and I would just find something that my mother would enjoy. Since my father has passed away, I have had to pay both halves to make up for all the times I did not pay for my half of the gift.

We go to my mother’s side of the family for Christmas Day, and it’s always just as fun as Christmas Eve. I am always saddened at the end when I realize Christmas is over and I will have to wait a whole year for it to come again.

I enjoy the holiday so much because people are a lot kinder during this season than any other, and my family is always happy during this time of year. That’s not to say that people are rude the rest of year, or that my family is usually unhappy. But, in general, people just seem happier around the holidays, avoiding talk of life’s rougher aspects like death, grades or work. Instead, there is laughter in the air and everyone is merry. This why I love the holidays – the merriment is contagious.

Now some of you, my dear readers, may disagree, and that is okay. Here is my advice for the upcoming holidays:

Do a good deed. It does not matter what the good deed is or if it’s big or small – just do it. Scrape the snow off someone else’s car, buy a friend lunch or just smile at someone.

Embrace religion. Embrace your faith and what you believe in during the holiday season. However, also allow other people to embrace their faith and practice what they believe in.

Be happy. I know that 2016 has not been the greatest year, but let it go. Do not let what has happened this year affect your merriment during the holidays.

Be with family, if you can. I know that not everyone can be with their families or do not want to be with their families over the holiday, but do not spend them alone. Make your own holiday party or go to a friend’s home – just be in a family-like atmosphere, no matter where it is.

And most importantly, do not be a Scrooge. Embrace the Christmas spirit and enjoy the break.

 

Julia Mach
Julia Mach is a junior english and secondary education major. This is her first year as Flyer religion editor. She loves musicals and reading.

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