My Favorite Christmas

What is Christmas? Is it just a day to eat delicious cake with your lover and possibly some fried chicken in the cold after work? If this sounds familiar, then you my friend might have been living in Japan for over 4 years. The reason I say 4 years is because that is the amount of years that I have lived in Japan, and that is exactly what I see and, at times, do myself in celebration.

What you may not know is that Christmas is an old tradition rooted in religion for many people and many countries, the day the birth of Jesus Christ is commemorated, and also the day when billions of people express their love to their loved ones. Whether they are family members, lovers, friends or strangers, this is the day we ‘give’ with no expectation of receiving.

However, where there is a following, there is an opportunity to make a quick buck. And just like that, Santa Claus, gifts, lights, trees, money, cash, and more money came into the equation, and that’s how modern day Christmas was born.

Many people in many parts of the world get lost in this modern-day Christmas. There is giving with the expectation of receiving. There is a lot of greed involved with not a lot of thought for love. This is not to say that most people don’t actually have a wonderful time with their loved ones during Christmas. I am just stating that this day has become very materialistic.

For me, Christmas is very special. When I was living in America, it was my favorite day of the year. The festivities kick off in the beginning of December, when everything becomes bright and cheerful. Bright lights along with smiles are everywhere, not to mention the smell of Christmas related foods such as hot chocolate and freshly made gingerbread. This is of course my experience of Christmas and differs to some extent depending on where you live.

The real fun starts on December 23rd, the day we go to a butcher to get our goat. Due to the fact that we are of Mexican ancestry, my family doesn’t eat the typical American Christmas food. We eat birria, a spicy stew traditionally made from goat and served on special occasions such as weddings, baptisms and special holidays. We prepare the whole goat and cook it for 12 hours for our Christmas Feast.

For my family, Christmas Eve is the most special. We wake up happy and excited for the day. All my family gathers together: my parents, my siblings, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, and my nephews. Everyone is there to share our love for one another. We hang out, we drink, we play, we cry, and we love. It is a beautiful day with a lot of excitement in the air. This keeps going until midnight (or Christmas Day) where the kids wait impatiently by the Christmas tree asking the grown ups, “Can we open the presents now?”

“Yes, yes you may open your presents.” The young ones open the gifts with smiles that words cannot express. The adults look at them with contentment, as seeing a child’s smile is the most important gift one can receive. Everyone else opens the presents, then we share more hugs and kisses. The night finally ends only to get started again the next day, Christmas Day.



commemorate (v) ? mark or celebrate an event or person by doing or producing something
quick buck (n) ? to make money quickly and easily
come into the equation (idiom) ? to become one of the factors that influence a situation
materialistic (adj.) ? to be too concerned with money and possessions
ancestry (n) ? the origin or background of one’s family
baptism (n) ? a Christian ceremony to officially become a member of one’s church