Gifts from Above

In the world, how one grows up celebrating Christmas varies. By culture, by personal experience, by the memory of what is magical to your early childhood.

Mine is a sweet blur of my siblings and my mother laughing so hard, we cried in laughter ourselves at how funny she sounded. We of course were the provocateurs. On Christmas Eve we would perform made up plays based on themes of the day.

Our very own interpretation of world events from our innocent view and somehow weaving in Santa or Rudolph. We each played a role, a character of our stretched imaginations. My mother, my father, and any guests to our home (sometimes many) would roar with laughter. All six of us were accomplished actors of our distressed characters.

So, it was with amusement to listen to the various staff aboard our ship who shared how their families from their country celebrated the holiday season. In Germany, there of course were the boots of St Nichols. “We would visit a nearby Christmas Market on Christmas Eve and be so anxious to return home to discover what gifts the Angels had delivered to our home. Stuffed into the biggest boots we could find. Usually my father’s.”

And from the Philippines…”Yeah, we would start our Christmas celebrations on September 1st all the wayyyyyyyyyyy until the end of January.” Truly – and we get upset when we see decorations going up just after Halloween.

In Romania… “we’d chase a pig around the yard, laughing, crazily trying to grab one with our little hands. And once we did capture one, (he or she) became our special huge feast to celebrate our Christmas.”

In Croatia…… “Christmas is very spiritual to us like it is in Portugal and several other countries. Honoring the birth of Christ. But we would also leave our shoes on the window’s ledge waiting for Angels from heaven to fill our shoes and our souls.”

And as we set out to board our ship, somewhere along the river’s edge stood a man half in the water. Could not decern weather he was floating, standing, or taking a leak. His pose seemed more like a religious experience. Praying to the Gods of Water. Someone had mentioned his pants were off. Some said he still had his shorts on.

I noticed neither only the solemn reverence of his moment. It was a few short weeks before Christmas and I knew it would be special to all.

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