Friday, December 26, 2003

Day after Christmas

The day after a holiday, especially Christmas, is usually a blah day for me. Everything leading up to Christmas--putting up a tree, going to or planning parties, shopping for presents, wrapping them, etc.--gets me hyped up for one climactic moment: Christmas morning. And then, there is a let down--it's over; life goes on. I used to think that it was because I was getting older, but I have thought of an alternate theory. Not that I'm trying to make excuses or anything, but it occurs to me that a lot of Christmas spirit is a kind of shared spirit, and so the feelings I have are often influenced by those around me. Neither I nor Musubi-chan express a bah-humbug attitude, but I missed the joy that little kids bring to Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, we had a party with families of Musubi-chan's fitness salon: 4 families with one child each. We got simple presents for the kids, 3 boys and 1 girl. Since we are unfamiliar with the kids and do not know what they would want or like, we got them what would be very boring, ubiquitous gifts: T-shirts. Okay, okay, like I said, I know its boring. Anyway, we didn't know there names so we left the name tags signed from Santa, but with no name in the "To" space. As kids, they picked up on this very quickly. Its amazing how perceptive kids can be! After Musubi-chan asked the parents for their names, she surreptitiously wrote them in on the tags, and in a few minutes they discovered them to their great pleasure.

The boys seemed to show a genuine appreciation despite the gift's blandness--maybe because they are from Japan where the Christmas gift-giving tradition is not that developed, particularly between unfamiliar people, and receiving something from a friend of one's parents was unexpected. This was nice to see, and gave me a sense of self-satisfaction, perhaps more than I have any right to feel. But better yet was the little girl. The boys' T-shirts were wrapped in similar boxes, but we got the girl--the youngest of the group--a stuffed teddy bear and so the box was shaped differently. As the boys, grabbed their presents and ripped them open, the little girl's face, at first, betrayed disappointment, a "why-isn't-there-one-for-me" kind of look. We told her to look harder and nudged her toward the different box, and in an instant her expression changed. She beamed like only a child can beam! "Is this for ME?!?" She was so adorable. She opened it up and hugged the small bear so tight, I thought that even a stuffed animal might choke do death; and she carried it around with her all night.

All four kids were great, and they provided me with a feeling that still reverberates. Thanks to them, I don't feel that day-after-Christmas let down. Thanks kids!

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