Monday, December 15, 2008

holiday laments thoughts

christmas used to be my favorite time of year. i think my childhood was rather rich in christmas spirit even as an immigrant chinese. the first christmas i can remember (in china) was my dad dressed up as a very skinny santa, and my christmas gift being a four layered slice of chinese cake (the ones that are really soft and foamy, with layers of very mild icing). i remember this because of the photo we have which obviously reveals my father as santa's alter ego.

i've continued to enjoy every christmas because every year i was introduced to something new, like pumpkin pie (ok, that was the thanksgiving/christmas holiday block), the shooter game crossfire, doggie bones for my athena and cindy, etc. we always put up the same old sticky, twiggy plastic christmas tree, with color coded steel wire branches that slid into four levels of plastic holders, and behold, the clumpy plastic pine needles came together and formed our beloved (and 10+ year old) christmas tree. we were simple decorators - my mom preferred white lights and a set of simple and glamorous red and white ball decorations to your typical hodge-podge of garlands and figurines. it was classic, and still today we have the orbs, and use them on our real tree.

there came a time during college when going home was a chore. for most students, the ideal thing to do is to buy a ticket for the day of your last final, and hightail it home. but i think by my sophomore year i realized there was more fun to be had at school, including spiked eggnog, a gym with weightlifting machines, crisp boston winters, phi sig, and a girlfriend. as i began to lose touch with friends from home, going home was less and less interesting, as we didn't really celebrate christmas with as much pomp as before. there was one christmas/new years where i actually was so anxious to board the plane and get back to boston that i had a fight with my parents about getting to the airport earlier. boston really draws me's the part of winter that appeals most to me here.

as a student, you constantly wish that the weeks before christmas weren't plagued by finals. seriously, nothing kills the anticipation of the holidays and IAP like four finals and three final projects and two projects due the next monday. it's never stopped me from going to around the world party at phi sig...but hey, it's wednesday, you always have thursday, friday, saturday and sunday to study. and you always think, if i didn't have classes, december would just be one big party. i could attend cocktail parties every weekend, go out for new years (instead of being home), go snowboarding every weekend. i bet it's awesome to stay here for the whole of the holidays, once you start working.

but the sad truth is, when your friends are mostly students, they still go home right after finals. and you are left at home, asking around to see if someone, anyone, will actually be around this weekend or next, and maybe will be here for new years eve.

but if you look around and think about it, we can't make everything into a huge party or a commercial enterprise. if i'm here for christmas eve, it will be with a city that i love. i'll sit with a glass of jack knowing that in just a few more days, people will make their resolutions, and then the whole crazy life starts all over again with spring just around the corner. might as well enjoy the holidays, and even though our childhood reasons to love christmas might not be there anymore, there's plenty else to celebrate.


mitrenegade said...

this second rewrite is much less depressing...and probably what i was looking for to begin with. the first one made me want to shoot myself.

becca said...

I completely empathize with you. Except it didn't just hit me in college... I stopped looking forward to Christmas in middle school or maybe even 5th grade.