Nostalgia. I started thinking about Christmas and its ritualistic significance and its ability to regress us all—whether that’s your mom serving you waffles and milk on Christmas morning or wearing pajamas and watching cartoons for three days—you are allowed to regress. Encouraged to take on your current role with steroids—I am now sister and daughter and professional and have taken on the roles of my mother. I feel jealously in my belly and heart knowing that I don’t have a holiday at home waiting for me. This is neither good nor bad and only thinking turns this opposite-of-holiday into a large hunk of food that has become lodged in my belly—I just can’t get it out. But, we all have our fears and dread the holiday for reasons that are all too personal—someone will mention your appearance, someone will make you aware of your position in life, you know the snide comments will come. And this is the magic of self-love, the true magic of Christmas. The holiday spirit is loving yourself even if you’ve eaten three waffles and have syrup on your worn out t-shirt. Its loving yourself even when your cooking is questioned or the gift you chose doesn’t have the hoped for effect. It’s loving yourself even if you have no family, will receive no gifts, will not look forward to a roasted slab of meat. Truly loving yourself is better than nostalgia because you are truly in the past, present, and future. You are existing in three realms with love that expands beyond what you can comprehend. And the best part about this self-love is that it creates space to love others. To love them with a Christmas spirit that reflects the Christmas tree. Several cities in the United States with German connections lay claim to that country’s first Christmas tree. Windsor Locks, Connecticut claims that a Hessian soldier put up a Christmas tree in 1777 while imprisoned at the Noden-Reed House. He put up this tree to symbolize life and freedom even the in the trappings of prison which can be like the trappings of our own thoughts. Put up a tree in your heart and grow your branches of self-love and watch the rest of your world grow as well.