Friday, December 25, 2009

Feliz Navidad

Christmas blessings to all of you in the blogosphere! This holiday is always a joyful and pleasant time of year, and has become increasingly peaceful in my house. Whereas my sister and I would have once upon a time been up at 7am to tear into our stockings, in recent years we have been taking a laid-back start at the more civilized hour of 9:30 or so. We have also scaled down to a smaller number of gifts, ones that gives each of us the most amount of enjoyment and represents our passions. For me, that means books, movies, and music; for my sister, photography books and pictures; for my mom, books and jewelry; for my dad, assorted consumables and some books and music. What can I say, my family likes good reading material!

One special Christmas blessing for me this year was getting a phone call from my paternal grandfather. Grandpa Ron, who is basically the family hermit/adventurer moved to Ecuador last year, and is rarely in contact by phone (although he does keep in touch via emails). However, he saved up some of his cell phone minutes and called up all of his children and grandchildren this morning. I enjoyed the chance to hear his voice, and also hearing about some of the local Navidad traditions. In Ecuador, Christmas is chiefly a religious holiday, and lacks most or all of the North American commercialism, which I think is something that we could stand to get back to a lot more. I love the tradition of gift exchanges, but I think it's gotten out of hand in the US. My grandpa called his experiences with Christmas in Ecuador a reminder of the simpler holidays he remembered back in the '50s and '60s. I'm not going to go into a cliched "Jesus is the reason for the season" rant, but I want to offer this as food for thought: Christmas doesn't have to be complicated or commercialized to be something special and memorable.

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