The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

Find Stories and More:

Losing the magic

Daryna Brodyk

A sweet, chocolatey smell wafts through the air. Tongues are burned by the first sip, complimented by a heavenly hint of marshmallow. As kids, hot chocolate was a remedy to defrost a once-frozen child who spent their afternoon sprawled out in the snow. However, growing up, the delights of hot chocolate have been replaced with the need for caffeine to accompany flash cards in preparation for finals. 

Senior Adam Tariq is one of many students who have fallen prey to the clutches of those endless hours of studying. Amidst college applications, Tariq lost his meaningful perception of Hanukkah that he had as a kid. The cycle of setting up Chritsmas lights and the menorah seemed to fall out of orbit as he grew up, Tariq expressed. A repetitive junction of study, eat, sleep, and repeat consumes the lives of South students, including junior Callie Choi.

“Break should be relaxing and [a] time away from school,” Choi said. 

Students are faced with countless familial situations as well, psychologist Alan Esser explained. Divorce, absent parents, and shrinking gatherings leading to all the more personal conversations are a few of many. Esser personally experienced the challenge of growing up with divorced parents. The annual  predicament of deciding which house he went to and how he would split time amongst his separated family on Christmas left Esser perplexed. 

Similarly, Choi and her brother witnessed a shift within their family as they grew older; as the number of present family members decreased, their duties increased. Without as much family it was up to Choi to keep up with traditions, making them more of a chore than something to look forward to.

“I used to bake cookies and have my extended family over, whereas now it’s just immediate family, and we don’t do any Christmas traditions,” Choi said. 

Sophomore Audrey Reid agreed that a large aspect of her holiday stress comes from the pressure of giving the “perfect” gift. Socks are frowned upon, but so are most materialistic items lacking in meaningfulness. It cannot be cheap, but a present that is too expensive makes the receiver feel guilty. Reid finds herself struggling to find the happy medium, she explained.

Growing up, it becomes apparent that weather and darkness during the holiday season greatly diminish its magic. Seasonal Affective Disorder, referred to as SAD, is a form of depression that emerges with the changing of seasons, according to Individuals with SAD might feel their energy slipping and mood changing constantly, most commonly during the winter months when daylight is scarce, Esser said. Although undiagnosed, Choi feels she can resonate with those who suffer from it, as cold and darkness exacerbate her stress during finals.

There are multiple solutions to SAD, including light therapy. Artificial lights that mimic sunlight often take the form of alarm clocks, slowly brightening darkened rooms, Esser explained. However, his primary solution for students was to spend time outside. Whether it is five or 30 degrees, Esser finds time to stroll and embrace the unfavourable weather.

“That’s what I tell people: fresh air,” Esser said. “If it’s sunny, get outside, even if it’s just for a little bit.”

Although winter is notoriously known for its substandard weather, aspects such as snow bring out much of what completes the holidays. Choi reminisced on previous years of sledding and building snowmen, acknowledging the greater possibility of friendship and family bonding. In previous years, the lack of snowfall has taken away from a festive holiday spirit, Esser said. 

“People want a white Christmas,” Esser said. “That is the ideal.”

As the years pass, the stress of being on the naughty or nice list transforms into stress for finals and family. Figures such as Santa used to give Choi a sense of anticipation and excitement each year. Without her childhood innocence, Choi finds holidays less magical.

Innocence about the holidays is arguably the best part of being a kid, Esser said. Believing in Santa or the other holiday traditions, allows kids to immerse themselves in the enchantment that surrounds the holiday season. 

 Esser’s two boys still believe in Santa. He greatly enjoys experiencing their wonder towards the plump, jolly figure recognized by his crimson apparel. 

“I want them to believe forever,” Esser said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Oracle intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Oracle does not allow anonymous comments, and The Oracle requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Oracle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *