The Things That Don’t Change at Christmas Time

So they were giving out free Origin of Species books at Turlington Plaza (right in the middle of the University of Florida campus) and Prof. Sinan Ciddi says: “This is great, I mean you can give this to someone you hate for Christmas and it was free, and you’ll look really smart”.

     Christmas time is wonderful. It is a time of meditation, a time of giving and thanksgiving as well. Christmas is a time of relaxing  (we academic slaves finally get a break). My friend Mohammad (pre-med major) says, “Sleeping is a luxury and is so overrated”. It’s a time to read books, brace yourself for the next semester, and if you don’t live at home, do laundry and eat Mommy’s food.

         I can recall in past years as a child sitting under the Christmas tree, my back hurting because I was laying on the Christmas train tracks, and I would look up into the tree at a swirl of Christmas lights. Christmas Eve was hard to bear, and opening presents was always fun. My parents always managed to surprise me and make the day incredible.  This was back in the day, when boom boxes were cool, CD’s made you seem more grown up, American Girl Dolls and outfits for them were my dream and books. Those were the best gifts.

      Sometimes the President had a Christmas party (I recall Clinton did once, Alicia Keys was there) and it was broadcast or the Arthur (yes, the ardvark) Christmas Special.
         We’d go to family’s house to eat, maybe the grandparents’ house and then maybe my grandma would force feed me cod fish and then more presents! Doris (my grandmother) always made a banquet and special deserts. We’d go by my great aunt’s house, and eat again and I’d admire their overloaded Christmas tree always abundant in silver tinsel and colorful ornaments.
         As you get older the gifts tend to get smaller but more expensive and in a way Christmas loses it’s magic and becomes just a spiritual experience and memorial. A time of nostalgia (if you aren’t entirely shallow).Giving really becomes the big thing and you stress, shop and worry, searching for the perfect gifts for those you love.

       Somethings never change, like eating good food like “pasteles”, receiving a box from Puerto Rico full of gifts, and watching the traditional Banco Popular Video imported from Puerto Rico as well.It’s nice to see how in a world of so much pain, deceit and sorrow, one can still experience joy and love. Seeing a puppy or child’s excitement with a gift, family, seeing a big smile, seeing a sparkling tree that glimmers with lights of hope-this is what never changes and this is what is priceless.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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