As emails upon emails from various retailers hail me to “Get What You Really Wanted This Christmas!,” I can’t help but laugh, because they aren’t the ones who can give me what I want.

As I get older, I realize that there is very little that I need. I am privileged to live in a household where I have everything I need to be happy and healthy, and more.

Our Christmas Eve ritual usually involves church and fondue (or steak and Caesar salad in the past) with the Flanagans. Of course it was sad to realize that they wouldn’t be here this year to celebrate with us, but we have celebrated many holidays with them over the years, and they have become a part of our family. Even though they are living all over the country now and I don’t see them often, I can still smile thinking of all of the memories we have!

I’m reaching the halfway point of year three at Carolina, and I’ve been realizing more and more just how valuable the time spent with my family is. I’ve always appreciated my parents and brother, but the distance really does make a difference. During the semester, I often find myself wishing I could be in two places at once. It is hard for me to say goodbye to them at the end of break, just as I am excited to return to UNC. I am very lucky to have two places I can call my home.

Even though this year’s Christmas Eve was a little different, I loved going to church, eating good food and watching Christmas movies with my parents and my brother. We even got to Skype with some of our family in Gananoque on Christmas Day! I know many people whose Christmas Eves were also different this year, and I’d like to encourage those of you to think of all of the gifts you did get, rather than the ones you didn’t. Maybe your family’s Christmas festivities were smaller than usual, but think of how great it is to have one-on-one quality time with someone close to you. Maybe your family wasn’t able to celebrate the holiday the day of, but think of how great it is that you are healthy and able to travel! There are many gifts that we don’t realize are gifts because we may not automatically see them that way.

The spam emails are all going in the trash, because I have already gotten exactly what I wanted this year!


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