That Christmas was not my favorite, nor was it perfect, but in it I learned about the true Christmas spirit and its humble origins.
There are Christmases that leave us great teachings and change us completely. This is not a story of my favorite Christmas, or the typical story of La-Navidad-Que-Le-Me-Ha-Gustado; but the more time passes, I perceive that it is the one that has taught me the most. It was Christmas 1997, my family had just returned from Brazil and our financial resources were quite limited. All in all, we were excited to be in our beloved city of Guadalajara, Mexico. Shortly before Christmas, something happened that happens once every hundred years in this beautiful city: a snowfall fell. Until then, I had never seen snow and since the temperature almost never reaches those extremes, no house has heating, so it forced us to be creative to warm ourselves and withstand the cold. My mother had learned the art of being frugal when we lived in Brazil, and when she realized that our thicker pajamas, which were rompers that we used when we were younger, were very short in the legs, she took the scissors and them cut off the feet. Then she went to look for us and when she found us buried between blankets she said with a smile:
-Here are your pajamas. I’ve made some adjustments to you so double up on your socks, grab your hats and gloves, and get down to put the balls on the Christmas tree.
Excited, my brother and I changed into these pajamas and ran down to the living room where our beloved tree was waiting for us; deep down I could listen to the same Christmas CD that we listen to every year. This time we had at least four or five layers of clothing, but I believe that on that occasion the Spirit of Christmas Present visited us, and that filled that cold room with heat. My mom made the wise decision to take a photo of that day; and that has become one of my favorite photos where I see myself as only ten years old, putting the spheres on the tree with the famous pajamas cut out. This simple photo has taught me that the best Christmases are those that follow these simple guidelines:
It is celebrated with a simplicity that honors its humble principles
Well, in the Christian tradition we celebrate Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and he had such a humble birth that the best Christmases are those that seek to remember such simplicity and the humble Christmas spirit.
We celebrate with the courage and innocence of a child
Growing up we forget how wonderful it is to see Christmas through the eyes of a child; However, when we choose to keep such spirit and innocence, we forget about perfection and feel happy with the simpler aspects of the Christmas season. Let’s not forget that children do indeed learn and celebrate by playing.
We focus on love, and not on material aspects
Although gifts are important and have their place, nothing can take the place of being with your loved ones, showing the love they have for each other; and if we try to be like children, we will realize that what they remember was what they felt, not what was given to them.
We honor family traditions
Few occasions are as steeped in tradition as the Christmas season. On the other hand, all the activities and repetitions provide a security and a feeling of “belonging” to something important. For this reason, those familiar scents are never forgotten.
As I said at the beginning, it was not my favorite Christmas, but it was one of the ones I remember the most and one of the ones that has taught me the most what kind of Christmas celebration I want my children to experience and come to consider as a family legacy. Christmas with pajamas cut off wasn’t perfect, but in the eyes of a ten-year-old girl, it was nothing more and nothing less than magical.