The big things are what matter this holiday season

Abraham Villarreal
3 min readNov 23, 2023

A friend commented that the turkeys at the grocery store seemed smaller than last year. I told him that was impossible. An 18-pound turkey is an 18-pound turkey. Maybe the price tag was larger.

I think everything seems smaller than we remember when we were younger. Christmas trees and presents. They’re smaller. Turkeys and green bean casseroles. Long dinner tables and centerpiece candles. Maybe the older we get, the smaller our eyes grow. The less magical things seem.

I hope not. Holidays are always part reality, part dream. We wait for them in anticipation. The decorations and the music. The recipes and the children running all over the house. And then, a day or two before the festivities comes the cooking and prepping. The shopping and the last minute pick-ups.

Life is complicated. It’s part stress, part enjoyment. Part celebration, part clean up. It’s like everything else, worth the wait and then longing for it to come again.

I like it when people share holiday traditions. Thanksgiving is unique to all of us, but in different ways. Dinner at 12pm for some, and 6pm for others. Gravy on everything or no gravy at all. For most of us, what we remember as special as kids is still special today. Family prayers. Passing the bread and butter. Too much food and still enough to take home for the next day.

Every year, I make salsa for Thanksgiving. Everyone brings their own dish, and as much as I love the traditional offerings, there has to be salsa. To me, a meal without salsa is like food without salt. That’s my contribution to the dinner table.

What seemed bigger when we were kids is still just as big if we want it to be. The catching up over stuffing. The staying up late for movies or board games. The feeling that you overdid it. Sometimes, it’s okay to overdo it.

The reason big things now seem small is that we stop appreciating those things. The older we get, the more our focus is divided. Work, office, bills, errands. The kinds of things that never seemed big to us when we were younger. As kids, we focused on grandparents, dessert, playing outside, cousins we only see once a year, and macaroni and cheese. Good things to focus on today.

Holidays remind us to focus on big things. Important things. Deep down, we know they are still important to us. The rushing and buying, the organizing and the prepping — they are all small things. They come and they go, quicker than we realize until they are behind us.

I hope during this season, that we remember to step aside and take a moment. To open our eyes as wide as possible and to see what we were raised to believe was the most important for us to remember.

The conversations and the laughter. The surprises and the accomplishments. The thanks for everything He has provided. And the macaroni and cheese.

The big things.

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Abraham Villarreal

People are interesting. I write about them and what makes them interesting.