While my family was sending unlawful amounts of Christmas deliciousness through their digestive systems, I was sitting at my desk at work wondering what the weather is like outside on this Christmas day.
It is not uncommon for people to work on holidays, but, for some reason, it felt like I was the one with the lump of coal in my stocking, far removed from any pumpkin pie access.
I wish I could say that my work was very important, that I was saving lives, maintaining world peace, or navigating Santa's sleigh through the stormy sky. In reality, my work is mind-numbingly boring, one of those where changing your name to "Hey" doesn't seem like that bad of an idea after a while.
I was not able to pinpoint exactly what upset me about missing that day with my family. The rational part of my brain kept telling me that this had been agreed upon long ago, that we'd still celebrate Christmas except on a different day, that I didn't have to do any cooking or cleaning up, and would enjoy my leftover plate when I got home. I kept telling myself that it was just another day, labeled extraordinary by big corporations with big advertising budgets.
I grew up in a Russian Orthodox family, therefore Christmas was always celebrated by the old calendar, on January 7th. Not only that, it didn't have a whole lot of similarities with Christmas that I celebrate now with my mostly Catholic family. While there of course was midnight (well, actually all-night) mass, and plenty of family around, Christmas was mostly about quiet family time and reflections on the year that had gone by.
Joseph making Christmas cookies with a friend
Presents were opened for New Year's as a symbol of good luck and prosperity in the coming year, and so by Christmas they were long forgotten and everyone had a chance settle back into their regular, much lower in sugar content, routine. It was traditional to visit your godparents, and take some food over, and sing carols.
Christmas on this side of the planet seems to be more about ham and tinsel, and yet somehow I found myself longing to share this day with my husband and son.
When I came home that night, my Christmas plate was patiently awaiting under celebratory Christmas foil, as was a pile of presents, and greetings from everyone I had missed that day. Joseph was sound asleep, dreaming presumably of sugar plums, as all children should on Christmas.
Just another day passed. I had believed it meant little to me, yet in the end it left me hopeful that next year, come December 25th, I will be there indulging in sugar, tearing apart wrapping paper, and watching my son build castles out of packaging.
Hope you had wonderful Christmas. And Happy Coming New Year.