Sunday, 26 December 2010

Thanksgiving at Christmas...

When Christmas comes, those who aren't worried about last-minute gift shopping or familial strife from the long days indoors, are generally the ones reminding us that Christmas is about Jesus. On Facebook, the statuses vary from sending Christmas or holiday wishes to mentioning the Nativity. There isn't much middle ground, unless of course you abstain from posting anything.
To me, it feels a little bit trite to wish everyone on Facebook a merry Christmas. It's not that I wish them the contrary, but rather that I shouldn't feel the need to be obligated (or for that matter feel the nagging sensation) that is associated with sending my best wishes everyone's way. To post yesterday's entry without any sort of reference to the holiday was tricky enough and, in the end, rather unavoidable.
Where am I going with this? Thanksgiving is about being thankful, but aren't all holidays really about thanks? I'm not denying the fact that I love to sleep in, eat great food, and receive lovely gifts, but there's more than that. Christmas reminds us of what we have. Spending time trapped with our families (this year often literally, if you got snow) or trying to get home to them (again, problematic this year), reminds us of the value we place upon the people in our lives. When you miss someone at Christmas, you realise how critically valuable they are and how much they are in fact a part of you.
It may sound sappy, and I suppose it is, but to be honest, I found yesterday wonderful and difficult at the same time. I was happy to be able to speak to my mother via skype and watch her open the gifts I had bought and mailed over a month ago. At the same time, I missed all of the small traditions we've had over the years. To be honest, the boy summed it up best in my Christmas card when he said that he was sad that he was sad spending yet another holiday away from me but that I made him so happy when we were together that he supposed it made up for it. Wow, right?
To put it in perspective, the boy and I have faced some pretty big obstacles in the short time that we have been together. Three months of him being in Canada (literally a month after we met), followed by three months of me being in the U.S. and a vast number of other things have proven that we're pretty durable!
That being said, this Christmas was emotional not for the reason that we were apart but with our respective families, but rather for the reason that he has been working non-stop since the 18th of December, including Christmas Eve and day. It might not seem like a lot, especially when his biggest threats are sleep deprivation and unhappy customers, while others literally are fighting for freedom, but it was hard for him. And it was hard for me. And I'm sure it was hard for his family. It's not easy serving others, when some of the others are serving themselves a second portion of turkey and falling into food comas in various parts of the house. I certainly was far more aware than ever of the fact that our bakery across the street remained open throughout the day yesterday.
So, in honour of Boxing Day, and its original origins, I dedicate this entry to those who serve in any and all capacities over the holidays, and most importantly, to the boy. So, Merry Christmas! Thanks. Seriously.

P.S. I realise this is a bit more personal than normal, blame it on the holidays! Stay tuned for more travel/culture/food...

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