On Being Home for the Holidays

Advertising is not about selling the product. Advertising is about selling the experience that comes with the product. The driving force for today’s media is by far the visual market. Every news article or YouTube page you load will surely have an ad hanging around somewhere, whether obscured on the side or popping up directly in your face, never mind the constant access to consumable media like television and films. Mass marketing is everywhere, and it aims to offer you a seemingly perfect lifestyle. So when a holiday based around gift-giving rolls around, it is sure to spark up a lot of experience-oriented commercials.

Growing up, I became accustomed to a certain type of family promulgated in media. The kind that shows up in sitcoms- all smiles, all in order, all the time. Over the years, seeing this type of family over again, I began to question the difference between the family I lived in and the family I continuously saw on the screen.

Throughout time, I began to dissect what it meant to live in a broken family. I began to understand that my family is broken. But, I have two parents raised in significantly more broken households, and they’re now trying their best to raise their children, yet they do not always communicate the message right. I’m privileged in that way, though. Not every kid is so fortunate to have parents with that good of intentions. Not every kid is raised how you were raised or how I was raised. Not every kid is excited to come home for the holidays.

I’d like to say something to those kids, if I may.

We are children born of a broken generation born of a broken generation born of a broken generation. Our children will be born of a broken generation. We have risen out of our broken generations every time, even though we lack something critical. Something. Some sort of light or comfortability or assuredness that we see so many friends and strangers possess; something that we can never, ever get.

Though you will never see your childhood advertised on TV, there is something unique inside of you. A worthwhile determination. Despite your broken foundation and the voices in your head that will never quite leave you, you are here. And you will continue to be here, because there is a kindness in the world. A kindness we cannot let unkindled.

After all, we are all a little broken at heart.

It is easy to let the marketed ideal of a family obscure what we know is reality, especially as those who haven’t really experienced a cracked foundation firsthand.

This holiday season, I encourage you to treat each person you encounter with the utmost empathy and love, because we could always use more of it to go around.

Love as an action. Love everyone you encounter. Be kind and empathetic, thoughtful and understanding, considerate and patient, and merry and bright. Happy holidays to all.

By Danielle Leard