It’s December 24, and for the first time in the last ten years I have a Christmas tree in my home. It’s a small tree and it’s sitting in an old cardboard box rather than a stand because stands were just too expensive. The little tree took a tumble in the middle of the night so my flatmate anchored it to the wall with some pretty Christmas ribbon. The tree is lit with red Ikea stars and tiny green lights, and the little guy even has some presents ‘neath it. Sure most of those presents are gifts from my students, but a gift is a gift. The decorations are all paper ones that my students colored for me, including the little angel perched atop of the tree. It is meager, but still beautiful and Christmasy. I don’t know how it happened, but somehow, someway I got a little Christmas spirit this year. A true Christmas miracle.
And now its December 24th. Here in Prague that means it’s Christmas Day. For us Expats it is a very quiet day as most shops and stores are closed, and most Czechs are at the cottage in the nature with their families. I plan on spending the day with my flatmate and my fella relaxing, and then later this evening raising a glass of Christmas cheer with a few of my closest friends. I have my Christmas playlist all ready, Monopoly and other assorted games and lot’s of chocolates. By the time Santa gets here, he just might not want to leave.
And I have been a good girl this year. No matter what has happened I have met my challenges with grace and positivity. Or, at least as much as I could muster. I have tried to be both a giving and forgiving person, and I have done my best to do as Mr. Dickens says and keep Christmas in my heart all year. In fact, the tree was not something I really did for myself, but for my flatmate. She was excited for the holidays so I thought it would be nice for her to have a tree. I never thought that I would be the one enjoying it so much. My inner cynic, who is usually the vocal one on this blog, seems to have settled down for a long winter’s nap.
We sat together next to our little tree and watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” – the first time for her – and I couldn’t help but smile. And I guess that’s what Christmas is all about. I look at my counterparts in America with their big families and their big trees without envy. I am happy and content to celebrate the holiday watching “Bad Santa” and eating Chinese food. I am happy walking the streets of Prague with a steaming cup of mulled wine in my hands. I am happy. Period.
So, with just one more sleep til Christmas I want to wish you all the happiest of holidays. I hope that no matter how you celebrate that you are even a tenth as happy as I am today.