It’s early Monday morning, and I’m sitting in my home office listening to Christmas songs as I work. And let me tell you, my heart is swelling with joy as the melodies evoke beautiful memories of Christmases long time ago. I think of home. For me, the holidays, and Christmas, which I celebrate is home. Home is where the heart is. It’s where there is family and love. It’s where there’s happiness and togetherness. I miss that so much – the togetherness of my extended family, that is. I feel like crying, but not a bad cry, a joyous, grateful, heartwarming cry.
We all have our unique memories surrounding the holiday season. For me, Christmas was a time of celebration, with preparations beginning around December 1st. Much ado was made about everything in and out the home. Stories of the birth of christ were told aplenty and concerts and plays that depicted the birth of christ were also a seasonal pleasure.
Homes got major makeovers inside and out. New paint was applied. New curtains hung up on every window. Floors were waxed or painted. Furniture was sanded down and polished. Cushion covers were refitted for new fabric and china and tableware, cleaned and polished.
Once all that was finished, the Christmas tree and decorations were mounted. And then came the food preparations. Food and fruits were a huge part of the Christmas celebration, and so that meant trips to the supermarket, liquor store and fruit stands to stock up for the week-long celebration, which started on Christmas day.
The delicious food and drink list was rather extensive. Some of the goodies included:
Pastels, black cake, baked ham, fresh baked bread, cookies, candy, apples, grapes, peanuts, cashew nuts, chestnuts, almonds, sweet bread, shandy carib, carib beer, ponche-de-cream, sorrel, eggnog, ginger beer
And no. They weren’t the healthiest of choices. But they were darn delicious choices.
And once Christmas day arrived, the feasting and festivities began. The paranging ( a tradition where friends and family would gather at one another’s home and eat, drink, make music and dance ) began. So in one day it was quite normal for one to visit as many as 10 homes paranging. As you can see, the food was prepared for a reason and there was very little chance of it going to waste.
This feasting and paranging lasted for approximately one week, leading right into the New Year. I miss it. There was an infectious sense of community and celebratory spirit.
I’m sure you can understand why I miss it so. Christmas is very different here in the USA. Once Christmas day is over, that’s it. The season is kinda over. And prior to Christmas day, there is no fuss other than shopping for trees, decorating them and shopping for presents.
It’s hard to feel a sense of community spirit in neighborhoods when everyone is only concerned with lighting up their own house and they don’t even speak to or say hello to their neighbors. Sometimes it also feels so divided with people always complaining about what they want or don’t want, about their beliefs, about who is offending whom, about religion or about rights.
It doesn’t matter what your religion is, what your belief is, whether you celebrate the holidays or not. What matters is that you find time to give and receive love, to commune and celebrate you and your loved ones existence, to be a part of a community.
This season, let love in. Let love win.
What does the holiday mean to you? I’d love to hear from you. Share in the comments below.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, health and wellbeing consultant and Qigong instructor. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo and more. She is the founder of Inside Outer Beauty Market, a multi-cultutal retailer curating and creating products to support the body inside and out. Visit the site at www.iobeautymarket.com