When I was a teenager, I was always the person who got ridiculously excited about Christmas. The whole of December just felt magical to me. The world felt better, somehow, at this time of year, like some genuine magic had come out with all those fairy lights. That magic faded as I got a bit older, and I spent years wanting so, so desperately to get it back. I still liked lots of things about Christmas, but it didn't feel special any more, and I was so concerned with this idea that it should feel different from the rest of the year that I was just miserable as a result. I liked the things that Christmas brought, like time with friends and a chance to choose gifts for people, but it just, you know, felt like a time of year when I spent time with people and bought gifts, not any kind of special "Festive Season."
I feel like, this year, I've finally got the balance in just... not caring so much. Christmas is in a week, and my reaction is mostly, "Really? Already? Oh, so it is." And that feels so much better than "Why aren't I happy yet? Why aren't I happy yet?" It's awesome to get into the festive spirit, but it's better to enjoy things for what they are, rather than think that it's magic or bust.
I love how everywhere is all dressed up, with lights on the streets and displays in all the shop windows. I love Christmas decorations, and I'm already a fairy lights addict, so that's always fun. I love that moment where you see something in a shop and think, "Oh, so-and-so would like that." I love the idea of the year winding down, of putting an end to all that's happened over the past twelve months and taking a time to breathe and prepare before diving into the next. And I love the special moments with people I care about, whether it's just watching a movie or playing a board game, writing them a sincere note in a card or getting a sincere note in return... small things that are more likely to happen when the holiday brings people together.
It doesn't have to be magic for all those things to be good. But if we insist on it being magic, it gets really hard to appreciate how good those things are, because in the end, they're just moments, like you might get at any other time of year.
Of course, now I'm musing on how I should feel about worrying about how I should feel about stuff, so it's on the verge of getting very circular and meta. But the minute you start worrying about how you "should" feel, you miss out on what you actually are feeling, and the good you can find in that.