Posts Tagged “christmas”

Happy December!

Happy December!

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Exactly 12am meaning that is exactly December. December! I’m cuddled up writing in bed which I haven’t done in so long.  I’ve written on park benches, fountain steps, and plane seats but I don’t think I’ve written in bed since the night before I left.  It’s cozy. I’m listening to Christmas music and trying to keep my eyes from falling asleep.  Isn’t it crazy to think that there’s only one month of the year left? I think that’s crazy. And what a crazy December it will be too. I’ll be in Europe! How many Decembers do you think I’ll be in Europe for during my lifetime? For all I know, this could be the only one in my entire life. Maybe I’ll at last be able to have a white Christmas..!

As it’s December, I’ve been thinking about Christmas and how everyone seems to say that Christmas time brings back tender childhood memories. Christmas makes us child-like again – with eyes that are bright and full of wonder.  That sounds a little sad to me.  Why does growing up have to mean we become a little more cynical and hard-hearted throughout the rest of the year? I hope that doesn’t happen to me.

If only there was a way we could keep the magic alive all year round. There’s just something magical about an abundance of red coats walking down the street, frosted window panes, doors clad in wreaths with red bows, and the way the world is lit up in fairy lights. I wish there was a way we could somehow preserve it so that we could feel Christmas all the time.  It’s inspiring how the whole world goes out of its way to be bright and merry when the sun goes down and to welcome family and friends with turkey dinners and glasses of wine.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
– A Christmas Carol,
Charles Dickens

I suppose everyone loves Christmas because Christmas is love.  Love is such a hard word to define, but I think that if someone were to say “Excuse me, what is love?” and you replied “Christmas,” he would know exactly what you meant.  It’s rather a shame that we wait until a month on a calendar to celebrate it with such spirit and vigour. There must be a way to feel Christmas all year round. Perhaps I shall ask a child. Most of the adults seem to have forgotten.

[All of these lovely photos were taken by my talented little sister Krystyna Pangilinan!!] 

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Christmas Lights and Christmas Spirit in Madrid

Christmas Lights and Christmas Spirit in Madrid
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The Christmas Tree in Puerta del Sol, Madrid

I’m doing my best to feel that surge of Christmas excitement but I haven’t felt it yet. There was a brief moment the other day when I put on some Christmas music in the kitchen and suddenly realized what I was listening to so I started jumping up and down like a little girl exclaiming “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” But other than that, I haven’t felt the same kind of excitement I usually do.  In fact, I think it gets less and less every year and that makes me more sad than I’ll ever be able to express. Maybe this year it’s because it’s not cold enough – at 17 degrees during the day, it’s hard to feel like the season is changing. Most of the trees still have orange leaves and I still see flowers blooming in the gardens. When I walk down the streets, I actually still see some people wearing short sleeves!

“When you’re still waiting for the snow to fall it doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all.”
-‘Christmas Lights,’ Coldplay

I think Madrid is trying, I really think it is. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been watching the lights and decorations slowly appear around town. I’ve been catching glimpses of red bows and garlands hanging in shop windows, but still, it doesn’t feel like ‘Christmas.’ I don’t really know  how to explain what Christmas feels like. I think it’s something we all know, even if we can’t remember anymore.

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Maybe it’s rosy cheeks and fingers keeping warm under mittens, and the smell of wood burning on an old fashioned stove. It’s the flicker of a candle on an advent wreath, and the first bite of your mommy’s Christmas cookie, and the scent of pine when you’re sitting on your living room couch reading a book in your pajamas with a mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows.

I saw some snow on the mountains the other day when I was walking home from school and that made me so happy, I stopped to take a picture. It’s sadly all melted now though. Ander and I set up the Christmas tree yesterday. It’s a small little tree that smells like a department store, but at least it’s a tree. I put on Christmas music and we danced and sang (well, I did anyway) as we put up the (mostly) store bought decorations.  My favourite part of the little tree are two little jingle bells that Leire made out of coffee K-cups. I think they’re the most beautiful part.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Last night, we all went to town to see the lights because it was the first time the city actually turned them on.  It was very pretty – each street has a different design and the colours sparkled and shimmered in the darkness.  We bought chestnuts that really were roasting on an open fire, and stood in front of the huge, golden tree in Puerta del Sol, dazzling at the lights and sheer size of it.  The streets were so busy! We walked past bustling shoppers trying to get last minute ‘Black Friday’ deals and musicians on nearly every street corner serenading the night. There was a group of four guys on guitars singing – you guessed it -‘Wonderwall’. I laughed. The moment it started to feel a bit like Christmas again was when we passed a string quartet playing the ‘Canon’We stopped to listen and it was all so peaceful that something in my soul started to sing.

Onward we weaved between the crowds of people until we got to a coffee/ice-cream shop. I got a pear sorbet with cookie chunks and it was really quite lovely. Ice cream in November – my hands weren’t even cold and I wasn’t even wearing gloves.

As we walked back to the car, I looked up at the lights and I listened to Ander ask if he was supposed to write his letter to Papa Noel in Spanish or English, and I felt something stir inside of me. It wasn’t Christmas exactly, but it was something. I think it might have been hope. And maybe that’s a start.

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Almost got hit by a car taking this picture.

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