Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Sitting here on the sunniest day Saint-Germain-en-Laye has seen in weeks, I've been working on prepping my Christmas lessons for my English classes. I'm so excited to share some of my favorite memories and holiday culture with my little ones, and it's made me think about some of the traditions I cherished from my childhood and continue to cherish now that I'm 'all grown up.'

One of the things I am missing most right now, besides my family itself, is the magic of the holidays. When you're little, everything is amazing and spectacular. There's so much anticipation and wonder come December, and I find that it's that spirit of innocence that's hard to recapture once you grow up. Sometimes I wish I could find it again, but watching how excited my students are reminds me to let loose my inner child.

A few weeks ago I woke up from a dream with this playing in my head, and thought about all the times I watched Home Alone as a kid and laughed, how much I miss my family tradition of watching Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve (which, no doubts about it, is mandatory...), about the nights my brother and I would then camp out in my room or his room in sleeping bags and attempt to stay up as long as possible watching the TNT marathon of A Christmas Story.

I miss making Mexican Wedding Cake cookies with my mom and sister. I laugh even more about the time when I wrote a letter to Santa on Christmas Eve and my stepdad wrote back, saying that he had slithered down the chimney only to have my cat bite his butt. I was mad at my cat for weeks and wouldn't let her near me!

I miss Christmas Tree Lane out in Ceres, California. I also miss being allowed to open one, and only one present, on Christmas Eve, having it handed to me, and always knowing that it was going to be a new set of pajamas to sleep in that night.

I've learned in the past few years of my life that it's the little rituals, the traditions that bring meaning and purpose, that help us appreciate how much we have and should be grateful for, that make up the fabric of our memories. And now that I'm all grown up, I long for those memories even more.

Joyeux Noël, tout le monde, et bien à vous. Bisous.

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