After a long semester, seamless days at home with family, huddled in the warmth and protected from the biting cold, are more than anyone can ask for–each day holding the culmination of movies, couch-sitting, and overflowing plates of food. The holidays tend to bring out those warm feelings in each of us, inspiring reflection. In these past few days, my mind has wandered from one end to another, reflecting upon my academics, my loving family and relatives, my new friends who have become yet another family, and where I want this new year to take me– the good and the bad of the past year, what to bring forward, what to leave behind. This year, my mom indirectly helped me out a bit with these reflections.
Like many others in the modern day and age, my family still “celebrates Christmas” despite the fact that we are not Christian. We still put up a beautifully green, ornamented (fake) tree with train tracks around it, put presents underneath the tree (I mean, Santa puts presents underneath it), and of course, exchange them in grand excitement on Christmas morning. Even though I am almost twenty-years-old, I still feel like a little child when I see gifts under the tree. And although my brother, my cousin sisters, and I may not have imbibed the religious significance of it all since we were young, there is still a sense of inherent gratefulness and the importance of the family around us. This year, however, my mom decided to step in and bring us a little bit closer to the meaning of Christmas.
Beyond the usual gifts (among other things, clothes and various trinkets for me, a tennis racket for my brother), both of us found at the bottom of our bags a small slip of paper with the big words, “COUPON,” written at the top. “This coupon can be redeemed for a gift of your choice after 25 hours of service in the year 2013. Choose your form of service with discretion and a good heart!”
Not that it was an original gift or something– there are plenty of stories of service-related gifts, you know, with the intention of rekindling the Christmas spirit. But it was the first time my mom had ever attempted something like this, and when I looked up at her, she said, “I thought it would be a good idea, to take a break from all of the materialistic gifts.” Now with another reason to find a meaningful service opportunity, a normal Christmas was transformed into a path of personal fulfillment.
Meanwhile, back to the board games, movies, and card games that are filling these amazing holidays. 🙂 Merry Christmas!