the christmas spirit

if the christmas spirit isn’t about warm homemade cookies, then i’m not really sure What it’s about. ok, that’s not entirely true. as today is 2 days after thanksgiving and we’re now “allowed” to begin the official christmas transition, i thought i’d take a brief moment to describe what the christmas spirit is to me. because i still believe in santa claus. and i want to explain myself.

[also i want to say that i personally grew up with christmas, but if i say merry christmas and you say happy holidays, #dontcare. christmas is just my word for the things i’m about to explain, and if you have a different word but you’ve taken the <1 second to say happy holidays, or whatever of the like, to me, i already know that we mean the same thing. so we can throw out that language barrier right off the bat.]

did you ever notice that starting some time in november and lasting, let’s say, to december 26th at 12:01am, people act just a little bit differently? people seem just slightly more likely to offer a smile or friendly greeting, to hold a door open, to give you space to change lanes on the highway. the salvation army definitely makes note of an increase in generosity around this time of year. to me, this is it. the christmas spirit. that general reminder to be nice, to bring a little warmth to a world that can sometimes otherwise feel so cold. it’s as if we all feel that santa might still be watching, or that we just want to get closer to the giving spirit, the goodness within ourselves. maybe it’s that we feel more willing to do it when we know it’s coming right back to us, and when everyone buys in, everyone benefits. like any good relationship, i suppose. this is the relationship and spirit of humanity at its best.

growing up in the northern hemisphere and not snuggled up to the equator, the holiday season has (until this year) been a winter / cold season for me. and this is also the case where the whole thing began, in israel, and spreading through the near east and to europe. so in accordance, popular holiday-themed songs and characters are generally winter season related; reindeer, snowmen, dreaming of white christmases, roasting edible things on open fires, hot chocolate and warm apple cider, a chubby bearded gentleman wrapped from head to toe in fur…

i know it’s going to be a little tough for me to experience christmas time this year in the warm weather of southern africa. it’s going to be even more tough for me to experience christmas without the familiar traditions i have shared with my family for as long as i have memory. and it will be toughest of all for me to experience christmas without them with me, regardless of what we wear outside or what we do inside. but i am hopeful that santa’s magic sleigh will be able to zip around the whole world in one night, bringing the christmas spirit where ever it goes. i am hopeful that the special magic of the holiday season isn’t season specific, and this will bring me warmth where it might otherwise feel a little bit cold.

and also, skype.


morgan’s christmas traditions: dinner at the grandparents’ house on christmas eve (this used to include watching santa’s red dot moving across the weather map on the evening news). new pajamas on our beds when we get home, which were a mystery for years as to how they got there. reading the night before christmas out loud as a family before bed. having trouble falling asleep, which used to be because omg santa and is now because omg 30. waking up earlier than reasonable on christmas day, and forcing ourselves to behave (not wake anyone else up) until a normal hour. trying to sneak back and forth to the bathroom without making noise, and without glancing in the living room to see what’s under the tree. but probably glancing in there anyway. finally waking everyone up for presents. in recent years, starting with the dog’s stockings (pictured on the right) so they have something to distract them while we open our presents – this has had mixed success. we humans also starting with the stockings every year, despite every year mom saying that’s Not how we do it, and sometimes ruining the surprise of another present by finding its accessories first. opening wrapped presents one at a time, rotating people. then eating a big cooked breakfast. then lazing around all day, enjoying our new things and just hanging out together. and last but not least, an amazing christmas dinner with the extended family and framily. then finally to bed, with a full belly and full heart.

feel free to share your holiday traditions in the comments below 🙂


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