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Lindsay Saves Christmas

While sitting in math class late October, a Christmas song popped into my head, and for the rest of Calculus, my friend and seasoned Talon writer Erin Jamison (‘23) had to endure the same line of the song I was singing. When I ask her if she is excited for Christmas, I expect an enthusiastic […]

While sitting in math class late October, a Christmas song popped into my head, and for the rest of Calculus, my friend and seasoned Talon writer Erin Jamison (‘23) had to endure the same line of the song I was singing. When I ask her if she is excited for Christmas, I expect an enthusiastic “yes!”

But she answers, “not really.”  And because I like to give Erin a hard time, I insist for the rest of class that because she was not extremely excited for the holiday, she hates it. 

When class ended, I wouldn’t let it go. “Erin hates Christmas,” I would say just to bother her.

“I never said that,” she would rebuke.

But it was too late. In my head, I had decided that Erin hated Christmas, and like any cheesy Christmas movie plot line, I decided to make it my goal to bring Erin some Christmas cheer. The inside joke spread until it became an article pitch that somehow was approved, and I began writing about “Saving Erin’s Christmas” much to her chagrin. 

As soon as I made it my mission this holiday season to “save” Christmas for Erin, Erin’s best friend and Christmas extraordinaire Lyka Pedersen (‘23) and I set to work on things that may brighten Erin’s Christmas. Cookies, hot chocolate, and Christmas movies — anything to brighten her December was added to the list. 

I know Erin doesn’t hate Christmas, but to quote the Grinch herself, “Christmas hasn’t been Christmas-ing for the past 4 years”. You see, my problem with Erin’s lack of Christmas spirit isn’t that she doesn’t like red and green together. It isn’t that she hates Santa or Rudolph. Most students can’t enjoy the excitement of Christmas when finals, gloomy weather, and failing expectations get in the way.

“I feel like I can’t enjoy [the holidays] because I don’t have time for [them],” Erin says.

Erin and friends in Old Sac
📸: Lindsay Shimizu

By Thanksgiving break, we set out to see the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Old Sacramento in attempts to warm Erin’s Scrooge-like heart. The event was held the day before Thanksgiving. Albeit a bit early for Christmas, I hoped the festivities and time with friends would be enough for Erin. For a moment, all that mattered was making it to the 30’ tree in Old Sac and taking a break from the chaos of the school and the taxing assignments we always seem resigned to. Old Sac is still holding their festivities up until Christmas and it’s free, hence why we went at all. 

When Thanksgiving break ended, my dreams of bringing Erin Christmas cheer were short lived. We couldn’t see the Christmas choir and band concerts because of homework and tests, and despite December starting, we could only focus on our school work and the bitter weather. Erin’s claims about Christmas were proving to be true.

“I feel like [Christmas is] just another event of the year,” Erin complained. “Not so much like a chore, but it always makes me [think] ‘That’s happening too and I forgot about it.’” 

During the week before finals, Student Council put on a Christmas “Spirit Week” in hopes of bringing some joy to campus. For five days, the hallways were filled with ugly sweaters and holiday themed pajamas. A competition was put on to decorate a door with your E Set class, and I managed to get Erin to help me with our entry. “[Christmas Spirit Week is] all about trying to promote that community that’s normally associated with Christmas through a spirit week,” commented ASB president Maddie McDougall (‘23).

Mr. Anderson’s E Set door, the true 1st place winner of the Door Decorating Contest

Despite wrongfully losing the door competition, I hoped Erin, Maddie’s and Student Council’s words and intentions had been realized through the spirit week.

“It’s nice seeing everyone all dressed up, but again, this is the week leading up to finals, so how merry can I be?” Erin said.

I had to admit it to myself — Erin’s Christmas wasn’t saved.

And it wasn’t my fault or hers or anyone’s. When Erin admitted to not loving a holiday that everyone raves about, I was both seen and upset. I feel the way she does, and I just don’t want to. I hate that I can’t get excited about the holiday — Erin just accepts it. I wanted us both to be overly excited about singing “Last Christmas” by Wham! I wanted her to tell me that she’s been thinking of Christmas decorations and lights since October.

But she was honest — she can’t enjoy the holiday. 

If you haven’t met a certain merriness or enthusiasm prerequisite, the holiday sucks. And Erin is right. Christmas falls short, but only because those who celebrate have branded it into some “Hallmark Winter Wonderland” fantasy. We put so much pressure to enjoy this holiday and the worst fate we decide for December is not having Christmas cheer? It’s ridiculous. I keep calling Erin a “scrooge” or a “grinch” as if that is the worst thing she could be this year. Of course, I am exaggerating, but we act like anyone who isn’t singing Christmas carols the second December starts is on par with characters that infamously don’t have hearts. 

From the start of writing this article, I knew that I was making something bigger than it was. I wanted to like Christmas so badly or have Erin give me the perfect reason to like it because I wanted to keep pretending. I was so gung-ho about changing Erin’s mind because I could focus on someone else’s disappointment of the holiday and not my own. I wasn’t upset that Erin’s favorite holiday isn’t Christmas — I was upset that she better emphasized why the holiday is so difficult for me this time of year too. I wanted to give her the opportunities that I wanted, but all I have to show for it is a stupid door that was robbed of a first place, a vague memory of a Christmas tree in Old Sac, and Student Council’s Christmas Spirit Week. 

I wished that this article would have been a success that magically made Erin jolly. But if this is the way Christmas has to be as a student, I can accept it. This doesn’t mean my holiday is ruined. I have a break to spend with family and friends, and I’ll be able to truly enjoy it without the pressures of school.

Perhaps Christmas didn’t need to be saved — it just needed lower expectations. The title of this article: “Lindsay Saves Christmas” was an inside joke between me and Erin, but in all honesty, my attempts to give Erin Christmas cheer helped me come to terms with my own cold thoughts on the holiday. I guess that’s what Christmas is all about. 

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