I am somewhat newly inducted into the official celebration of Christmas. I was born in the Middle East where Christmas, if it was at all celebrated, was a small affair, mostly in people’s homes here and there. Oddly I don’t have specific memories of Christmas in Europe, where I spent a few years as child, aside from some references to Papa Noel, and special cookies and chocolates.

Christmas fully entered my consciousness in the 1980s when I came to America, and how! I love everything about Christmas. I love the decorations, the reds, the greens, the luminescent whites. I love the lights adorning streets and houses. I love the store fronts and hot chocolate and the smell of spiced apple and cinnamon. I love the nativity scenes, the dolls, the elves, the Santas, the reindeer. I love the way people seem warmer and kinder.

I mostly enjoyed all this as an outsider until about ten years ago when I met my husband, who is Catholic and in whose family Christmas is a big deal with family members traveling, sometimes cross-country, to be with each other.

I took to Christmas like fish to water, with one exception: the whole gift thing. The buying just to buy; the mountains of gifts for some and very little to nothing for others; the thank you for my ceramic buxom, blonde angel in a bikini statue that plays the muzak version of All the Single Ladies when you wind it up. All my gift apprehensions came to a head last year when my then-3-year-old stood before what seemed to me to be an obscenely huge pile of goodies and lamented in his lisp: “Thanta never bringth me anyfing!”

Since I recognize that this issue is the subject of long-time debate among the good people who have been celebrating Christmas their entire lives and for generations, and that anything I, Janey-come-lately, have to say about it has probably already been said before ad nauseam, I will now stop and instead let you know how grateful I am for the beauty and magic of the celebration surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ—that feast of tastes and scents and sights, and joy, love and service.

Merry Christmas, our beloved readers. May your lives be blessed with peace, health, abundance, and the gifts of spirit.

2 thoughts on “Joy!

  1. That is what gets me through this holiday, this particular one right now. Money has dried up – we literally have nothing. But we also aren’t digging ourselves into deeper debt, we aren’t buying groceries on credit cards, we are simply providing for our needs, yet for none of our wants. It’s sad to a certain extent, b/c I’m used to trying to make Christmas over the top, with as much store-bought cheer as possible, decorations and food galore. Not for the commercialism per se, but for the warm feeling. But this year, I could only spend about $100 on my children, and nothing on my husband, just to show him I love him. That’s sad.

    But I just remember that Jesus was born and he saved me and my family and everyone I love and don’t love and don’t know and that’s the best gift of all. And my family will be around me, loving me, caring for me. And I am not worried or fearful about this money thang because I came into life without it and I’ll leave without it. I already have everything that I need. My children already have everything that they need. My husband already has everything that he needs (well, maybe he could use a little more of a coupla things, I’ll work on that :))

    Merry Christmas readers!


  2. I’m also new to Xmas, Nazie; although I did grow up in the US I grew up with an atheist father. I think the materialism is a tad bit absurd and find myself going deeper in each year nonetheless. I haven’t bought a tree or decorations yet and I hope that is where I will always cross the line.

    Latoya, the only Christmas tradition I have started is to take a family photo every year on the day, which I send along with a New Year’s message. I rarely find the time to stop and do this during the year and I hope that later it will signify as a lasting Christmas gift.


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