Four hours past X’mas day, and I have been having a jolly good time . Before writing (…rather typing) any further; a sprig of holly, a piece of cake (freshly baked…and oh yes, edible!!!), a glass of wine and good cheer to all…..Well this post is long overdue…. It was more or less supposed to be my X-mas checklist, I mean like “is-everything-in-order-before-chaos-occur”. But as usual I lost the battle with time, eternal enemies that we are!! Fortunately it did turn out to be pretty great “X-mas” this time- my first ever away from home and oh yes, I am still working!!! Taking you through my X-mas checklist and my X-mas day….
Pre-Christmas days were pretty busy with the caroling, X mas play and the bonfire nights. Setting up Christmas trees in the wards and at my place…finding the right size was essential especially in our cramped (minus the books and clothes strewn around, voila we have a dance floor then!!) quarters. So a miniature spring cleaning process took place and finally we found the right place for it. As for the books ‘n clothes, they shall enjoy the space of the spare closet in the hall, for the next couple of weeks. And up went the Christmas tree….not having one is like something missing from the Christmas spirit. Spruced up with decorations, all lit up, it gave the hall a welcoming look. Ideally, the Christmas tree symbolizes the ever-lasting life with God. There are many legends which tell about the origin of the Christmas tree, but one thing I have personally felt is that without one, there is something missing in Christmas.
Meanwhile, away from home, I had the enormous task of sending e-cards and greetings to friends and family, especially to my re-connected friends. And hunting cards for my grandparents who adamantly refuse to use technology. It’s all totally confused, says Grandma and Grandpa is convinced that these things are bugged. It’s a wonder that they agreed to a land-line and nope, no cell phones yet. Anyways there is something precious about Christmas cards, getting the real ones is fun, especially when on looking at the old cards, I am reminded of the past Christmases’. Anyways that and the gifts had been taken care of.
Secret Santa, we used to play it every year at home. Being away from home was all the reason more to hold one among colleagues. You can imagine the surprise on our faces when we drew the lot. We all could hardly wait for the unrevealing to happen.
Beginning with the eve of Christmas, the bunch of us who were the working lot decided that work or not, Christmas dinner would still there be as at home. So before the midnight church service, we all came up with the idea – to host the traditional X-mas dinner at one of our places. Nothing new about the timing of the idea, we are one set of regular last-minute-parties-and-dinners. Choosing which one of us would have to host it was the next thing to decide, because it meant cleaning out the whole place from top to bottom, at least the main hall!! Once the decision was made, reinforcements were called in and oh yes, the process of leafing through the recipe books started and so did the calls to home, what to make for the dinner. And the hunt for the groceries started. Thankfully, the stores were still open!!! But before it could be a complete kitchen disaster, we had help from one of our senior doctors on the campus. Under her watchful expertise, the dinner was prepared. It was fun, though a complete mess of the kitchen was made. And the dinner was not a disaster, for many of us who exist on ready-to-cook and pre-dinner boxes; it was like a miracle that we could prepare something edible!! Miracles of Christmas!! Baking didn’t turn to be as charred as expected. Add the wine, and we were all set for dinner.
Then we all went for the Midnight service. Sitting for the message, brought back memories of my childhood, how we all used to gather beside the Christmas tree listening to Grandpa tell us about the story of Baby Jesus and the Star. No matter how many times I hear it; there is a sense of wonder in knowing the love and mercy of God. It signifies the true essence of caring and giving, the spirit of Christmas.
Then dawned Christmas morning. Though most of us had to work, we did have fun in the wards, especially with the children and elderly. Oh we do make wonderful Santa’s. Those of us who did manage to get a few hours off, escaped for a “picnic-lunch cum dinner”, or as we like to call it so. Not yet freezing out here!!! For my first Christmas away from home, I surely had a wonderful time. Sitting and typing away at the wee hours of the morning, all I can say that life is indeed a miracle. The way you value it makes each day more precious than the other. And the memories that are made, they last for a lifetime till the grave. Well, it makes the “crappy” days worth living. I have to get some shut-eye now but where did that bottle of wine go?!!! Can’t let it go wasted, can I?!! Cheers to you all….Feliz Navidad