By Liora Fishman
I love the holidays…
In fact, I would consider myself a holiday enthusiast. In August, when everyone is lounging by the pool and enjoying the great outdoors, I’m longing for that white blanket of snow to cover Chappaqua and bring the holiday festivities with it. Bring on the lights, Secret Santa, Menorahs, and fuzzy sweaters. When Macy’s starts announcing their holiday specials in October and you simply can’t imagine anyone thinking about holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, think again.
Yet, it’s not the “40% Off Everything” sale that I adore about the holiday season, although I certainly don’t mind it. It’s the essence of the holidays, the joy infused air and inexplicable sense of genuinely wanting to make others happy, and expecting nothing in return. After all, Santa Claus wasn’t created with the expectation after Christmas, a gift wrapped box donning a bow with a card that addressed “To Santa” would appear under the Christmas tree.
This reindeer owning, red-suit sporting character exists to preserve the anonymity of a gift-giver. After all, isn’t that why we give gifts? The holiday season is, under no uncertain times, about bringing happiness to others. Although the holiday experience varies for every person and every faith, this sentiment is shared by many.
“I love the spirit,” said Gabby Resnick, junior at Horace Greeley High School, “I love all of the festivity that goes into it. Even though I don’t celebrate [the holidays], I still enjoy the culture that surrounds it: one of giving and celebration. People are nicer. It’s great.”
Furthermore, the holiday season brings family together. During the course of two months, families separated by thousands of miles, or even bodies of water, reunite to celebrate.
“To me, the holidays are mainly a time to get together with family. It’s great to see people you almost never get to see,” said Owen Ruggiero, a freshman at Greeley.
And if you’re like me, the term “family” extends to just about everybody you or your family has ever met. The weekend before Chanukah begins, my house becomes somewhat of a hotel, housing most of my family. Come the infamous Chanukah party, my extended family, with seemingly all of Chappaqua–nay, all of the tri-state area–congregates in my house to celebrate the impending week of festivities. There is enough food in my house to feed a medium sized army.
Despite the issue of navigating my house without injuring someone (the Chanukah Party is an indisputable fire hazard), I love it. Nothing can rival the wonderfulness of being surrounded by people who love one another, and it’s only the holiday season that can bring about such a feeling.
For Colleen Guernier, a sophomore at Greeley and the youngest child in her family, the holiday season is a time for her to reconnect with her siblings and reunite her family. “Being the youngest child by quite a few years, it gives me a chance to reconnect with my siblings, as well as my relatives that are scattered around the country. I love the fact that everyone is brought together over food and other holiday treats. Tradition is something I love and there is no better time for that than Christmas.”
Additionally, holidays serve as a time for rest–a break from hectic schedules, tests and work, and a reminder of what is truly important in our lives. “The holidays ensure a break from normalcy,” explains Alex Kaufman, a junior at Greeley.
“They are a time to relax and spend time with family, something that is a rarity with the busy schedules we have these days. [Us students] tend to find ourselves caught up in what we believe to be important such as our GPA, but the holidays are a pleasant annual reminder that family, togetherness, and kind-heartedness are truly what matter most.”
Liora Fishman is a junior at Horace Greeley High School and was a member of the Greeley dream team who produced last September’s issue of Inside Chappaqua Magazine.