Aaron’s word of inspiration for this week is jolly.
When I read the inspiration word this week was jolly, the first thing that popped into my head was the Burl Ives song, which I have included here for you all to get an earworm for the next three days. You’re welcome!
But then I started thinking that I wasn’t really all that Christmasy this year. It’s strange because I LOVE Christmas! The lights and the snow and the decorations!! The overall feeling of happiness and joy that it seems to bring…
I think it might be because of the rona. Actually, ya know what, it’s 100% because of the rona.
In mid-November, I decorated my class, as quickly after Remembrance Day as I could get the supplies and ideas together. It’s become my annual tradition. And by annual tradition, I mean I’ve done it the last two years in a row. I had presents and cards all set for my students! And then that was basically the end of my jolliness.
School announced we wouldn’t be able to give gifts that could go home, the school was closed before the holiday due to a covid case so all the fun activities planned before Christmas had to be cancelled or somehow moved to our online lessons, positive cases here in Toronto are skyrocketing, the city has been in lockdown since November 23rd, now the whole province is, no Christmas gatherings, this new strand that was in the UK is now somehow here and the people who tested positive for it have had no travel or contact with people who have traveled. It’s been a strange year.
But then I got to thinking – that it was actually a pretty great Christmas. No stress, no family drama-rama, no anxiety (aside from if the door to the house was opening and closing so many times for residents or guests). It was actually quite nice!
I woke up without an alarm, had a lovely breakfast, talked with my parents for a bit, and then with my brother for most of the day as we shouted names of old Christmas shows we watched as kids over text message.
For those who don’t know how to shout things over text, what ya do is take a screen shot of the 1990’s tv episode you’re watching on youtube and send it to the person and in big capital letters tell them what you’re watching.
It was a fun day! I even had the chance to connect with some cousins over Facebook who I usually wouldn’t see over the holidays but since we are all online this year we were able to chat.
It reminded me of the Christmases that I spent in South Korea. Ya see, in South Korea, Christmas is celebrated a little differently. The country may identify as a Christian country, but there is still a lot of ancestor worship going on and some hard links back to Buddhism and some other Eastern philosophies.
Christmas isn’t as commercialized in South Korea as it is here. It’s a day off school for the kids and is considered to be a “family day”. So malls and movie theatres and restaurants and things are still open. I even got mail on Christmas day the first year I was there! The stores don’t go crazy with decorations, and you won’t be assaulted with Christmas music for two whole months. Maybe like the week of Christmas you get one or two mixed into the playlist but nothing crazy. Or if you’re walking and a store is having a Christmas sale, you’ll hear that good early 2000 Britney Spears Christmas song, but it’s not over kill as it is here in North America.
The first year that I was there, my parents made sure to send me a gift package and we opened gifts together on Skype. 10am for my family, 11pm for me. It was an interesting experience. The second time that I was there, I don’t think I did much. And I enjoyed the more low-key Christmas.
It’s kind of weird that when I go home, I would be doing the same thing as I was doing in Toronto – just hanging out and doing my own thing. My brother and I wanted a different Christmas this year. We didn’t want gifts. We wanted family time. But when we are home, everyone kind of just does their own things most of the time. Maybe next year we will be able to continue to get closer as a family. To see Christmas more like a South Korean would – as a day for family activity and togetherness. To limit the things and increase the memories and time.
So maybe this year doesn’t feel as jolly as it usually does, but it has honestly been a great Christmas! Hope you all found a way to celebrate over the last few days and had a lovely Christmas too! xoxo