ToraDora, rather than getting one Christmas episode, gets 3. In my opinion, these 3 episodes are some of the most emotionally riveting episodes. From Yusaku’s confession revealing to Taiga that he likes Sumire, to Taiga’s heart wrenching realization of her feelings for Ryuuji, to Minori’s rejection of Ryuuji. Romance isn’t going well on any front, for anyone. Why? In part, because everyone is too busy putting everyone else first. Ryuuji wants Taiga to be happy, so he continues to try and set her up with Yusaku. Taiga wants Ryuuji to be happy, so she promises to play cupid for him and Minori. Ami even warns Ryuuji in her own way, because she’s worried that hearts will be broken. Minori rejects Ryuuji in large part because she realized Taiga’s feelings for him.
In all of this, however, some acts of selflessness stand out to me the most. Despite knowing he’s hurting his chances with Minori, Ryuuji leaves the Christmas Party. Why? To try and cheer Taiga up. He trades his expensive suit for a Santa bear costume and turns up at her apartment. He had no way of knowing that Taiga had just been sitting alone, sad that she was yet again on her own for Christmas. His turning up takes her sorrow and turns it into joy. She is so excited, showing off her little glass tree and laughing enthusiastically. She reveals after that she knows it’s just Ryuuji, not Santa, but she doesn’t care – it makes her happy all the same. After that, Taiga insists on sending Ryuuji back to meet Minorin. This all despite her obviously not wanting to be alone again. She was more concerned with his happiness (which she felt rested on getting together with Minorin) at that time. Minorin then rejects Ryuuji after seeing Taiga so broken over the idea of losing him. In all of these cases, the characters put someone else first, despite it being at their own expense.
Be that little bit of light and hope for someone this Christmas and make an effort to put others first. It can be something totally free. It can be something that only puts a smile on their face briefly. It can just be something small or can be something bigger. It’s not so much about the action/thing as it is about who it’s coming from and why. While many of us are blessed to have family and friends and food and presents to mark our celebration of Christmas, others may not be so lucky. It’s easy to get caught up in what we have and enjoy that. It’s hard sometimes to make a sacrifice in order to put someone else first. When I may struggle to get in that mindset, I remember the reason behind Christmas. God gave us the biggest gift – His son, Jesus – even when we didn’t deserve it. Not only did he give us Jesus, but he took joy in it. It made Him happy to give and makes Him happy still to see us find joy and hope in His gift.
I try and find the same joy in blessing others – even when I have to sacrifice a little to do so. It’s not always easy, but Christmas gets a lot more special when you bring joy to those you love. So, I challenge you this Christmas to put someone else first, like Minorin with Taiga. Find a way – big or small – to bless someone, even if it requires a sacrifice, like Taiga with Ryuuji. Then take joy in knowing you blessed them, even if it was something as simple and brief as what Ryuuji did for Taiga. Sometimes those are the best Christmas gifts you can give!
Day 8: We’ll be discussing the 3rd OVA episode of ReLIFE tomorrow—a warning, major spoilers happen in that episode! We’ll remain fairly spoiler-free in our post, however, so skip watching if you haven’t seen the first season!
Toradora can be streamed on Crunchyroll.