There is something truly special about Christmas. Although the holidays does involve running around finding just the right presents, Cooking the perfect meal and creating those sentimental holiday cards, there is a certain magical feeling that accompanies this time of year.
Growing up, Christmas Eve was the one day I could stay up as late as I wanted with my brothers. During my childhood, I would attend Christmas midnight mass with my family. There was always an hour of carols being sung before mass. After church, we would come home and eat the home cooked meal. My mom had spent the whole day preparing a meal called the “Reveillon” in her French tradition. We would sit around the table and eat and talk for hours. Sometimes there would be dancing and singing all night or “Reveyons” (all night parties).
I wouldn’t go to sleep until almost dawn. I would even feel too tired to even attempt to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus or “Tonton Nwel” and his reindeers. Presents were not opened that night or in the early morning. My family loved waiting until we had brunch. We would stay in our pajamas all day before that wrapping paper came off. Can you imagine being that patient as a kid?
My all- time favorite present was during my elementary school years. I received a Cabbage Kid Doll that looked exactly like me. I was so thrilled that Santa honored my wish and still have it all these years! As the years went by, it would be more difficult staying up late. We would go to mass earlier and come home and have an earlier meal. My favorite part of Christmas Eve would be having virgin pina coladas instead of egg nog. Also, I enjoyed eating my mom’s chili dip with chips, Haitian food and her pistachio pie or cheesecake. I LOVED watching the movies “A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life” over and over again until Christmas Day. My family would always have the radio playing in the background. The station that played Christmas classics for twenty four hours straight! It was just a simple day about peace, gratitude and the family coming together.
Of course, the Christmas experience has changed after becoming a parent. It really is the one time of year when you can feel that childlike innocence again. Making gingerbread cookies again, decorating the apartment and tree, searching for the Elf on the Shelf,and hanging up stockings is truly a delight again. Now the celebration has expanded to include a big extended family and friends which makes the holiday even more festive and special.
THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
I attended a spiritual Christmas service this year and I was reminded that although there has been a lot of political, financial and social turmoil in the world this year, Christmas is still really a time about hope, charity, and love. We can all be instruments of change and peace. All have the potential to fight for truth and justice and love each other. We are all connected in some way like family. So I hope you enjoy this holiday season. A new year is on the horizon. Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Joyeux Noel! We all have potential!