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For many people, the final months of the year are the most magical time all year. Streets are lined with tinsel and bright lights, illuminated trees make homes radiant, and in spite of the cold, the music, comforting food, and drinks make us warm to our core. Andy Williams said it best: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

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But what makes the time of year so special? According to a New York Times article, it isn’t the commercialism. In fact, shopping for our loved ones often causes more stress than pleasure, as we wrack our brains wondering whether or not they’ll actually like the gift, or if our bank accounts can handle the season. Combat with traffic and cranky shoppers, scrambling around stores is the last thing many want to do.

Yet when we look back on the holiday season, the dread of shopping isn’t (usually) the first thing that comes to mind. We remember putting lights on the Christmas tree. We remember decorating cookies with family. We remember the fun we had at a white-elephant party with friends.

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During the holidays, we spend quality time with friends and family. We go out together, experience the season together, and make memories together. For many, the holidays bring back a sense of nostalgia the rest of the year can’t hold a candle to. While there is stress associated with the season, more often than not, the positives tend to outweigh the negatives.

Still, some struggle with unparalleled loneliness and bad memories during the festive winter months. That can’t be denied. Things happen might have happened in the past that makes the month of December hard. However, new memories can always be made to replace the bad ones. During the holidays, surround yourself with the people who make you happy, and maybe things will seem a bit brighter. Stop to think about the things and people who really matter in your life.