Let’s establish something here: I LOVE Christmas! Like, love it love it. My favorite holiday love it. I know that it’s kind of cliche to say, but considering I’m the type of person who typically has an aversion toward cliche types of things, I still am going to say it. For a few years, I tried to downplay it a bit, but understandably so, as those weren’t the best Christmases I’ve had in my life either. But now it’s out in the open. I love Christmas. For different reasons now than when I was younger, but I always have, and I probably always will.
And while I admit that I have some particular annoyances that are associated with the season (long lines, obnoxious drivers, lack of parking downtown, holiday music that can be heard before Thanksgiving even hits…) I am generally just a happier, more relaxed, stoked-on-life kind of person around this time of year.
Unfortunately, graduate school has downplayed the excitement for me just a bit, namely because it has taken up all my time. Naturally my vacation is postponed until all the work for the semester has been completed, and I knew that it would be a difficult race to the finish line, based solely on my experience last Christmas. Plus, taking into consideration the fact that my darling cat passed away unexpectedly last week and also the fact that I somehow thought taking 19 units with two of my classes being seminars was a smart idea, it’s understandable that my semester didn’t end last week like it should have.
But I have a supportive family, friends who are far too good to me and professors who give me extensions on papers. So I finally was able to put the finishing touches on my second seminar paper this morning, and turned it in just past noon. What a feeling!
But with all the stress gone, of course something has to happen. I’m sick again! But at least it’s a cold. And it’s minor. And my body was nice enough to wait until after I was done with all the stress stuff for it to get sick. Besides, it happens. I don’t think it would feel like Christmas if I didn’t get sick at some point.
In spite of all the busyness and craziness over the past month, there was a point earlier on where I was granted a short bit of reprieve and given an opportunity to get excited about Christmas. And that occasion was Nikolaustag.
This takes place in December, on the evening of the 5th and day of the 6th. This is when – in Germany, as well as other European countries although I’m not certain which ones – Nikolaus goes house-to-house filling children’s shoes with candies and oranges if they’ve been good. And if they’re bad children, their shoes get filled with coal, and they sometimes get beaten with sticks by Nikolaus’ nasty-looking counterpart, Knecht Ruprecht.
To celebrate the day, our German crew got together and made and ate lots of Christmas cookies, listened to festive music, looked at pictures and had a good time hanging out and getting to know one another better. And of course, we were paid a visit by Nikolaus and Knecht Ruprecht both.
Luckily, I’ve been a good German student and done all my homework, so Nikolaus gave me some chocolate…
Fast forward to today: now that Christmastime is official for me, my first order of business was to go shopping, which I spent most of this afternoon doing. And by shopping, I mostly mean waiting in line for ages and ages (or what felt like that). But all my presents are wrapped and either sitting in the present corner, or packed up in my bags in preparation for the journey to Europe tomorrow.
And now that my Christmas vacation is finally here, I’m excited to spend the few days left before the holiday just enjoying the feeling of no burden or looming responsibility. I’ve already had a Radler, watched the Solstice Lunar Eclipse and done about half of my packing. So for now I sleep, cause tomorrow’s going to be a busy day.