Holidays are a time for families to gather together and share in the joy of the seasons. And like most children, Christmas was and is my favorite holiday. Our family has developed unique traditions that have been engrained in my heart and soul. These traditions have withstood the re-locations of our family, new additions, sickness and trial. Growing up in a home where allergies affected the activities my mother could participate in deprived me of the most significant traditional symbol of the Christmas season: an evergreen tree.
My family is the proud owner of a six foot, flame-retardant, plastic tree. Every year we spend one full day assembling the tree, wrapping it in colored twinkle lights and hanging ornaments we have collected from the various places we have visited. While some have their origins in distant places, a fair few symbolize the different quirks and personalities in our family. We have trimmings from several different states and even a few countries. Each one brings back a flood of memories from all the family vacations, school trips, and relatives who travel far and wide. Each hand-crafted, Popsicle stick ornament and commemoratory Lakers basketball championship orb reflects not only the people in our family but also the interests and joys we share. It is not the tree itself that inspires love and unity in our home; it is the time spent deciding whether the Star Trek Enterprise will go next to the wooden camels from Jerusalem or the ornaments hand-made by my youngest sister in her second-grade class.
Beginning the day after Thanksgiving and continuing on until New Year’s Day is a feeling that does not exist at any other time of the year. The world adopts a positive outlook on life as we reflect on the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Amongst the presents, decorations, and mad rushes to the mall is the love of Christ which is most apparent at this time of year. People become more focused on others. Charity and service thrive at the Christmas season; a love of man-kind seeps into even the most stubborn and selfish heart. Every person you meet in the hustle and bustle of the season has a smile on their face and a more positive attitude on life.
I believe in a traditional Christmas with an evergreen tree, snow-topped buildings, carolers on the street corners in authentic Dickens era costume, and houses adorned with twinkle lights. I believe in the hope and faith that comes at the Christmas season. I believe in flame-retardant, assembly-required Christmas trees adorned with memories from childhood, colored lights, a plastic star from the grocery store, and the Star Trek Enterprise.
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