Be the warmth

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By Jazzmine Freedom

When I was younger, I was a big fan of winter. Like most children, I looked forward to the first snow of the year with great anticipation and could not wait until it was time to put up Christmas decorations. I’m still not exactly sure why, but some time between my sixth grade year and my junior year of high school, my opinions about winter changed.

It was a very slow change, but it had dramatic results. By October of last year, I was well on my way to becoming the next Ebenezer Scrooge. First of all, I hated winter weather. I would’ve much preferred rain, which didn’t pile up everywhere and get muddy, dirty otherwise clean floors, or, last but not least, trick teenage girls like me into making accidental U-turns while driving down one-way streets. I took every opportunity I had to tell anyone who would listen that I would much rather endure the high temperatures of the summer than the low temperatures of winter, and I complained constantly about how far away spring seemed.

I had also lost a lot of my enthusiasm for Christmas. I felt that the holiday had been cheapened, and that everyone around me seemed to think it was about getting new iPods and video games. I was tired of listening to people talk about whether we should be saying “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” and I didn’t feel that the pre-holiday stress was worth the end result.

But something about last Christmas changed my mind. It’s hard to say what exactly it was, but I think it had a lot to do with an old friend and a website he made last December. It sounds lame, I know, but it’s entirely true.

Heath and I had been friends for about a year. We weren’t terribly close, but I enjoyed talking to him, and sometime around late November I began to call him on a regular basis. He had just moved from Vegas to North Carolina, which I somehow took to mean he now had tons of spare time to spend listening to me talk. It was a silly assumption (having spare time does not mean you suddenly wish to waste it listening to often pointless ramblings) but we did end up getting a little closer, and actually, I think this may have also had a lot to do with said website.

What Heath made was a sort of online tribute to Christmas, which he called The Electronic Christmas Tree. For some reason, I took a great interest in The Electronic Christmas Tree, and Heath and I began to have regular discussions about anything having to do with the holidays. We talked about past Christmases, holiday traditions, carols and Christmas songs, anything that had to do with the season. I remembered what fun it was to build snowmen and make snow angels. I thought fondly about hot chocolate and sitting around the Christmas tree just to watch the lights change.

As The Electronic Christmas Tree grew, so did my holiday spirit. All the conversations we had about reasons to love the holidays reminded me that I did indeed love them. By the morning of December 25, I had completely changed my mind about winter. The entire experience was a good one, but there is one particular thing I will always remember when I think of winter. It’s something Heath wrote, and I’ve asked his permission to share it with you, so here it is:

“It isn’t often cold, now is it? It isn’t often that the world is blanketed by little soft pieces of ice. This is a cold time of year andee what better time to show people just how much I love them, to just be the warmth that the earth isn’t providing right now?”

Don’t lose sight of what’s important this time of year. Let the people you care about know how much they mean to you. Share the love and the holiday cheer. Be the warmth.

Jazzmine Freedom, a Robertson High School senior, is an intern with the Las Vegas Optic.