The 10-year-old wakes up excitedly. She has waited for this day for weeks on end — three weeks ago, to be precise, when mother started preparations for the big day on the calendar of Christians all over the world. Mother had reminded the girl and her siblings that the next few weeks entailed much work in which the whole family had to pitch in. But then, even if the reminder had not come, preparing for Christmas was something of a family affair, where everyone contributed to the cleaning, decorating and preparing of sweets for the year’s most enjoyable season.
The little girl and her kid brother got the least chores being the youngest two among the siblings. On the D-Day, however, they had the huge responsibility of distributing the home-made sweets and Christmas goodies to their neighbours and friends. But as this was something the little girl has been enjoying for the past couple of years, she wakes up excitedly that Christmas morning.
The family gathers around the dining table to invoke the joy of togetherness fundamental to Christmas.
With delectable food and the Christmas delicacies neatly laid on the table, breakfast with family is reminiscent of the harmony that filled the earth with the first noel thousands of years ago.
The girl looks forward to finishing her breakfast amidst the celebration and to start her rounds of the distribution. Soon it’s time for the ritual of handing over the goodies that the mother so neatly arranges on trays to be hand-delivered.
The little girl is greeted warmly at all the homes she visits with her little brother in tow. The tray containing the goodies is handed over to the lady of the house, and while the tray is emptied, she gets to talk to the members there.
“When does school reopen?” “Where did you get this pretty dress?” “Which class are you in now?”
She’s asked some polite questions to which she replies with the courtesy that follows politeness, thus getting a lesson or two in the art of conversing. This is followed until every home is covered, and it takes all morning. By the time the girl returns though, it’s lunch time and much of the festivity is still untouched and waiting to be revelled upon.
To the little girl, the round of sweet distribution she undertakes is probably the best part of Christmas, for I’m that little one who had the opportunity to spread Christmas cheer with a simple gesture of sharing home-made delicacies. And it unfolded for me some of life’s simple yet priceless pleasures.
Decades have passed but the joy of giving, the happiness in sharing, the delight in conversation, the mirth in friendships, the cheer in moving around the neighbourhood circles, and the enchantment in spreading harmony, all of which I had discovered as I went circulating Christmas goodies every Christmas, still sticks with me. I now encourage my children to take goodies during Christmas around our neighbourhood.
They have been doing it for a few years now. I’m sure they too will experience the same sense of wonder and years later, will discover that some of life’s simple but lasting pleasures came from sharing and spreading cheer. To me, this is truly the wonder of Christmas.