My Most Cherished Christmas Memories
I have celebrated Christmas for more than four decades. My feelings seem to intensify when the holiday season begins but the type of feelings have changed as the years go by. The uninhibited happiness of opening presents when I was a little girl, has transformed into a quiet yet blissful joy. I seem to rediscover my old feelings through my daughters’ eyes. My most cherished memories of Christmas were at my grandparents’ farm; the aroma of the tasty food, the scent of freshly roasted coffee, the smell of the logs burning in the fire stove, the soothing rhythm of Latin music, and the never ending sound of dancing shoes. Christmas meant party time!
My grandparents had 12 children and they travelled to the farm every year with their families. The scene of more than 60 family members gathered around a small dining table, made by my grandpa, gives me a feeling of comfort and indescribably joy. I remember how only six people could actually sit comfortably at the table, and the rest of us were sitting on rustic logs or on the floor while enjoying Christmas dinner. When I was there chatting with my cousins or learning my first salsa dancing steps with my Dad, I was unaware of all the worries of adulthood, and life was so bright and rose colored. Most of us stayed at the farm for 8 to 10 days, it was 4 hours away from the big City, where most of us lived. We used to run a lottery to determine who will be in charge of the dishes for the night, I only won one year, when I was about 12 years old. It took me about 3 hours to finish cleaning up the kitchen, needless to say, grandma did not have a dishwasher…
The coffee farm was located at a mountaintop, we had to walk uphill for about 45 minutes to get to the
main house, the alternative was a horse ride but with the amount of guests, there were never enough
horses for all of us. As we grew older, the amount of guests grew smaller, work and family responsibilities made it harder to gather the entire family. It was still fun and the food was still delicious but the feelings were different; the outlook of Christmas started to change as well as my feelings. I believe the magic of Christmas is still with me and I truly enjoy decorating the tree, witnessing my daughters opening Christmas presents, visiting Burnaby Village, and of course, family gatherings. Canada is my new home and I feel safe in such an amazing country, but I miss not only the joy I used to experience when celebrating Christmas at the farm, but also the carefree attitude and the unconditional love of my Latin family. Christmas time is a wonderful time but it always brings an inexplicable bittersweet feeling to my heart.
Here goes a big hug from my Latin heart to all my readers, Merry Christmas!
What is your most cherished Christmas memory?