It’s been kind of hard for me to get into the holiday spirit this year.

School has gotten crazy recently and I can’t really think about anything else until after exams. My family hasn’t even put up Christmas decorations yet. That’s partly because I might be moving away over the break, another thought that’s keeping me from being as happy as the holidays usually make me. Life just isn’t as sugarcoated as when I was younger and the only thing I worried about was what to get my parents for Christmas.

But the other day I stood on a staircase at my school and listened to the choir and band play Christmas songs and it was one of those perfect moments where everything lines up and you don’t think about the past or the future. Just being there made me joyful. That’s the kind of joy I’m trying to find this month. I’m trying to shake my dependency on material things for happiness, my need for affirmation from others instead of myself. It’s still really hard for me to find unconditional joy when it’s not laid out for me, obvious and accessible, but that rainy-day joy kept in the secret places inside of you is so important. There’s no telling how long it will take me to learn that. But this month, I’m going to listen to way too much Christmas music and laugh with my friends while I still can and watch funny movies and just try to drink up all the joy that I can find in every moment. I’ll leave you with a quote from Kung-Fu Panda: “Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”

I hope all of you are as joyful as possible!

xo Zoe B.

Artwork by Zoe W.