If Christmas were a person, it would be loud, outgoing, and the life of the party. Christmas is never discreet, becoming increasingly difficult to ignore as it draws closer. I am reminded of its approach by music in stores and on the radio, by beautifully lit houses, and by Christmas concerts at the elementary schools.
At the time of writing, I have attended three concerts at three separate schools. École Mother Teresa School had their band students, separated by grade, play a number of Christmas songs. C. P. Blakely School had a live play, accented by assembled choirs. École Steffie Woima School students performed several original, sometimes comical songs, each introduced with a short skit. The students at every event performed with huge smiles on their faces. Some of them were even missing their front teeth. Their hair was often neatly combed and their shoes were shined. The boys’ shirts were tucked in, and the girls wore festive dresses.
Except for summer vacation, Christmas was my favourite time of year when I was younger. I remember school assemblies, where everyone gathered in the gym and sang Christmas carols in the morning, the lyrics cast onto the wall with an overhead projector. I remember receiving way more candy canes than I knew what to do with. I remember picking out a gift for my teacher, then proudly presenting it the last day of classes before the holiday. I remember watching the claymation version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in class, and being a little scared by the unnatural, jerky way the characters moved.
I became increasingly excited as Christmas Day grew closer. On Christmas Eve, my mom made chicken casserole with red and green peppers, and stewed fruits with almond cream sauce. I was on the computer, monitoring Santa’s movements with the NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Santa tracking website. I watched him move from Finland to somewhere in the Canadian Arctic, and knew he must be restocking his sleigh. He looked pretty close to Calgary. I figured I should go to bed soon. I didn’t want him to skip my house just because I was awake.
I never slept late the next morning. I was too excited to see how the pile of presents under the tree had grown from few to many overnight. I checked the cookies on the table, and saw that Santa had eaten one, leaving behind a few crumbs. Obviously, he had left the other cookie for me. I hoped his reindeers liked the carrots I had left for them.
Santa, as usual, had delivered exactly what I wanted. Of course, he must have remembered from when I whispered it in his ear at the mall a few weeks before.
No longer six years old, I must admit I don’t always feel as festive or get as excited about Christmas as I used to. This year, though, as I go to and from Christmas events, taking photos and writing articles, I feel a bit of the old excitement stirring. Seeing people who have decorated their houses for the season, who attend town Christmas events, and most importantly, the little girl who runs up to Santa and leads him by a finger around the room, I am reminded of a time when Christmas was something I had looked forward to for months.