Del BeneAs the holiday season kicks in, each day seems busy as never before. And these jam-packed days appear to be the most wonderful times of the year.

However, we should never really forget the true meaning of the holiday season, regardless of what we celebrate.

Too often, especially for people in my generation, holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are falsely labeled and advertised. We hear the word “Christmas” or “Hanukkah” and automatically think of gifts and things we are asking others to give us.

I don’t think that this habit comes from selfishness or greed but rather from how the holidays have become so commercialized over the years. This has resulted in generations of people perceiving and approaching the meaning of holidays from a different perspective.

Whether it’s a 50 percent off sale sign at a loved one’s favorite store or modern holiday decorations that are appealing to the eye, I think we can all admit to spending a little more money than we would like during this giving season.

Sure, part of the celebratory months of November and December include giving to others and maybe asking for a little something for yourself, depending on what holidays you partake in. However, we need to remember what these months are truly about.

We need to look past the shiny new gifts we’ve put on our wish list. We need to take a step back and look at all the wonderful things we have in our lives. We need to think of those who are less fortunate, who maybe can’t have a nice holiday with the people they love and care about.

I remember Christmas Day last year as the best day of the year. It wasn’t a gift I asked for and received that made that day so memorable and special. It was the look in the eye of each and every member in my family. Those eyes reflected genuine happiness, joy and love.

My intention in writing this wasn’t to encourage people to stop buying gifts and spending money on others. It’s to urge you to really remember what the true meaning of the holiday season is.

Sometimes we just need to take a step back from the crazy, busy days of these celebratory months and look at all of the beautiful and amazing things we have in our lives. Whether it’s a hopeful look from a complete stranger or the hug of a loved one, these things all make an impact on our lives. It’s an impact that many people don’t have the opportunity to receive.

Enjoy every precious moment and experience that life gives you on your journey.

Jacqueline Del Bene is a sophomore at West Linn High School. She is contributing a regular column to the Tidings this school year.

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