It’s baffling to think that we are already back in the midst of the holiday season, with lines of lights already adorning the roofs of houses.

While this season is primarily meant to be a time to celebrate with family, it is often overshadowed with an unruly amount of stress and anxiety. Whether it be the nerves that come with preparing a large meal for the family or the financial burdens that gift buying can deliver, some sway toward the Scrooge mindset during this time. I admit, I’m guilty of letting myself get wrapped up in stress during the holidays. 

This year, I am a senior in high school, and let’s just say it has been jam-packed with college application anxiety and a continuous over-abundance of homework.

Within the last week or so I’ve realized something. This was my last Thanksgiving as a kid. This will be my last Christmas as a kid. That’s terrifying to think about. It might be the last time I’ll get to have cute Christmas parties or Friendsgiving with my high school friends. That is why I’m challenging myself this year. Every year, I wrap myself up into some sort of stress around this season, something that probably won’t really matter in the future, instead of enjoying all of the wonderful things around me. This year though, I want to cherish every memory with every family member, friend, and neighbor. 

So, this season, whenever I start to feel anxiety coming on due to festive issues or school, I will think of the small things about this time of the year that never cease to bring me joy. I think this is a technique that anyone could benefit from. Instead of letting ourselves fret, let's reflect on why it’s truly the most wonderful time of the year. 

Spending time with family. This is a wonderful time to catch up with family members that you may or may not see during the rest of the year. The Holiday Season allows for the creation of new and precious memories you can cherish for years. 

The Weather. I know most people aren’t too fond of the bitter cold, but, as a weather geek myself, this is one of the most exciting seasons of the year. Not only is being bundled up in sweaters and scarves extremely cozy, but every time I see the glittering snow piled on top of the ground, I’m instantly filled with the Holiday Spirit. So, the next time it snows, just sit by a window and enjoy one of Mother Nature’s beauties. 

Nighttime drives to look at lights. Maybe it’s just me, but, when I’m bored during the Holiday Season, one of my favorite things to do is to drive around neighborhoods and look at the beautiful light displays. People go all out, and this is just such a calming activity that is fun with friends and family. Go ahead and blare that Christmas music in your car while you’re doing it!

The holiday spirit. Despite the holiday celebrated, whether it be Thanksgiving or Hanukkah, this time of year brings communities together. The kindness and excitement in the air is almost contagious and makes this season so special. 

Movie marathons. Personally, this is one of my go-to anti-stress strategies during this time of the year. I mean, I was already watching Christmas with the Kranks in October. There is nothing like bundling up with friends, drinking hot cocoa, and watching tons of holiday movies from Hallmark to "Die Hard."

All of the wonderful food. While this certainly is not the most important part of this season of giving, it’s an obvious bonus. From the incredible spread that Thanksgiving offers to the candy canes handed out at Christmas, this season is extremely delicious and can certainly make you pack on a few pounds. Don’t feel bad. Grab that second piece of pumpkin pie. You deserve it. 

These are just a small fraction of the tiny things that make me smile during this season. Instead of stressing out, cherish this Holiday Season! Tell the ones you love how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them! Eat a little bit too much and watch way too many movies! This is the most wonderful time of the year and everybody deserves to enjoy it.

Happy holidays!