Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feliz Navidad!

10:08 PM

Today is Christmas Eve, and I'm sitting in a quiet condo, eating queso flavored potato chips and drinking a Mexican Coca Cola. There's no white snow on the ground, and I can't hear a single Christmas carol being played. To say that mine and Creagon's first Christmas together is a different one is merely an understatement. While this is a "normal" holiday experience for him, mine is usually quite the opposite.

My mom decorates the house right after Thanksgiving, and we have a huge tree. We have ornaments that we've been collecting since, well birth, and they all have their place. We light fires in the fireplace [while turning the AC down to 60!] and watch "White Christmas", "Elf", or "Charlie Brown's Christmas Movie". There is so much anticipation leading up to the holidays, and preparation that goes with the anticipation. From shopping to baking to decorating to wrapping, Christmas can become quite the chore. But no one minds, as we smile and hum "Jingle Bells" all the way home. Christmas Eve is usually a church service, an inspirational [seeker friendly] message on the birth of our Savior. Dinner follows at my parent's house, where all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents join to celebrate. We open gifts from the family, and count the hours to Christmas morning when "Santa" arrives. Christmas morning begins with the smell of cinnamon rolls and coffee. My sister, 10 years younger, has already been awake waiting for me to join her to open our gifts. As I got older, the process of getting "Christmas morning ready" took longer and longer. But, at last, we have our bulging stocking and piles of gifts to begin tearing into. It's the DVD I wanted, the gift cards I asked for, the lotions that I can't live without, the book I saw in the store, and the newest electronic gadget I've been dying for. It's over in an hour, and all that remains are piles of gifts and shreds of wrapping paper. We each lay out our gifts in our room, proudly displaying this year's acquisitions. But not for long, because it's off the relatives house for Christmas brunch, where grandpa makes his famous biscuits and gravy. We eat till we're stuffed [again], exchange a few final gifts, then head home to sleep off all the Christmas excitement. Christmas night brings another meal and another gathering of loved ones. As the night ends, we pop in a new DVD or a Christmas favorite, and watch as the final hours of Christmas fade away. All the while, I'm wondering how did it go by so fast?

Christmas is marketed as such a magical holiday, where dreams and wishes come true and miracles can happen! It's the season where everyone [almost] is in the giving mood, and everyone's budgets are stretched thin or overdrawn. It's the most wonderful time of the year…

But what will Christmas in Mexico be like? Different, sure, but will the magic still be here? Did I finally get my Christmas wish, to escape the materialism and consumerism of the holiday and celebrate it for what it's really about? I do not miss the materialism of the holiday, but I do miss spending it with my family back home…because to me, that's an important part of the holiday. Christmas in Mexico has been [will be] great, but I'm looking forward to seeing all the people that make the holidays feel warm and fuzzy.

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!