What Christmas Means To Me (2016) ♡

I've never been a traditionalist, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I don't do holidays in a traditional way. Don't get me wrong. I'm all about peppermint mochas and cheesy Christmas music...you know I'm ALL about that life! 

However, the meaning of Christmas is about much more than just bright lights, gingerbread and Santa. As we get older, some of us become desensitized to the idea of Christmas. We don't believe in Santa anymore, we have bills to pay, and most of us hate snow. Sometimes, it can feel like you're losing that warm Christmas feeling.

But the truth is: we're not getting further away from that warm Christmas feeling. We're getting closer to it.

These super cute Jumpers are both from Boohoo!
When you stop associating warm Christmas-related feelings with the past, it'll come to you again. Stop fantasizing about reindeer and hot chocolate. Stop getting nostalgic over childhood memories and old music. Don't rely on the same traditions when everything around you is changing. Create new memories, new traditions, discover new music. 

When it comes to holidays, I've realized when your life isn't all figured out, you have to adapt. 

Last Christmas, both Andrew and I were in a rough place. We both had to work all holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and News Years), which reaaaaaally sucked. We both lived in the shittiest apartment in the world with even shittier people. We weren't even near financially stable. Our dreams were dying and so was the hope inside of us. We didn't have much. But we had each other. That's what gave me that warm feeling.

This year, it makes me happy to see how far we've come on...well, pretty much every level possible.

We wore our festive and warm sweaters from Boohoo. Rewatched the entire Harry Potter series while cuddling under our red and green plaid blanket. Listened to romantic tunes from my 'Vanilla Christmas' playlist, Ariana Grande's 'Christmas & Chill' EP, the Christmas music on the radio station 103.5, and his 'Night Drive Home' playlist. Saw sooo many amazing films in theater - Fantastic Beasts, Moana and LaLa Land! (And had a lot of insightful conversations because of it.) Discovered the fireplace channel on our TV which added some much needed ambiance to or living room. Baked cookies...but mostly ate the cookie dough. We both got terrible colds and nursed each other back to health...then got a space heater which racked up our electricity bill. Joined Secret Santa exchanges, which we couldn't afford last year. Went to both Disneyland and Universal despite our busy schedules. Spent a lot of casual mornings drinking lattes with vegan coconut whipped cream. Reflected on the past year with endless hope and love.

You know what the best part is? That's just the beginning of it. Christmas doesn't have to have a formula. It isn't about the past or the future. It's about now. Create your own traditions and your own memories with people you love. Screw your expectations of what Christmas needs to feel like.

And no matter how hard it is...keep holding on. Christmas is all about finding the good in the bad and cherishing love above all. 

Have a very happy holiday. With love,

Maria Elena

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