By Louisa Benatovich, Student Reporter

I know what Christmas is supposed to be like: a real evergreen tree, lots of gifts and loud family camping out in all corners of a suburban two-story house.

It’s shouted at us in all the movies: Christmas is supposed to be a joyous distraction from life’s faults and difficulty.

And it is…most of time.

But what happens when the holidays amplify the empty holes in life? What happens when Christmas draws attention to all that we don’t have?

I say we change its definition. Christmas can be anything.

It can be a drink with strangeras at an airport bar.

It can be a trip to the church at midday.

It can be alone, with parents, with just mom or just dad.

It can be ham, turkey, or Chinese food.

It can be an artificial tree with lights or a real tree with baubles.

Heck, Christmas doesn’t even have to be on the 25th.

Everyone I have ever met interprets Christmas in their own way, whether they’re Christian or not.

It’s enjoyable to feel the good-nature that emanates from every home, from every light in every window.

There isn’t a formula for a good Christmas, no recipe for perfection.

I’m old enough now that I don’t wake up at 5 a.m., I don’t make Christmas lists and I don’t watch “A Christmas Story.”

I just stockpile traditions, because to me, that’s the beauty of a day like this.

As Christmas thrusts us into the New Year, afraid and unprepared, I begin to wonder if these days really matter.

Then, I watch “Love, Actually” all over again and I believe.

Any day can be special.

We’re all human, and we all have the right to choose how a simple day will make us feel.

Merry Christmas, Ellicottville, and a Happy New Year!