Israeli Christmas?

Even now, 4 days before Christmas, it does not seem like the biggest holiday of the year is on its way.  Well at least not an American Christmas that I have seen in movies. There is no snow, no Christmas decorations anywhere, school is still in, and no Christmas music playing in the background. Huge exams, tests, and projects keep popping up out of nowhere. However, there are very small things here and there that make this upcoming Christmas seem more special than past ones.

  • Many of my Israeli friends are having their grandparents come, or they go to visit them in France or some other place, to celebrate Christmas. Lately, we (my friends and I who are celebrating Christmas) have been comparing the height of our Christmas trees, or if anyone believes in Santa (still). Some of my friends make jokes about how “they believe in Santa” and “of course Santa is real” because I believe in Santa. But today on the bus, one of my friends asked me what presents do I want for Christmas. I have never made a list for Christmas gifts because I believe whatever my parents and brothers get me will be nice. However, at that moment I was trying to call my mom, and lately my phone has not been doing well. It’s a Motorola (from when Santa got me the gift a few Christmases ago). And when I was trying to call, my phone died five times! Finally, I became so sick of it turning off, that I said I would like a new phone. My friend has a very old phone that is a purple-ish pink, even though he is a guy (it used to be his older sister’s) and so we always make fun of him because of the phone. So then, he was like could you just ask Santa to get me a new phone too (Even though he does celebrate Christmas, he doesn’t believe in Santa. So, it was kind of a joke between the two of us).
  • This second trimester of school, I’ve been staying after school three to four times a week. Recently, I’ve noticed that at this little vegetable market down the street from where I live, has a few mini (about four feet tall) Christmas trees all decorated and lights glowing on them. There was even a blow up Santa! In a few houses around my neighborhood, I have also seen, through their windows, Christmas lights and Christmas trees, just all this Christmas decoration. To me it is special to see any sign of Christmas outside my house and for the past years, I know some of my Israeli friends have not celebrated Christmas (it’s their first time this year) and only this year have I seen very few decorations outside my house. The occasion of seeing such sights gives me the reminds me and gives me the feeling of pleasure that Christmas is soon to come.
  • A few weeks ago, my Chorus class was invited to the U. S. Ambassador’s “Holiday” party (all the years before it was a Christmas party, but since this Ambassador is Jewish this year, it is a “Holiday” party) to sing Christmas and Hanukkah songs (as well as secular, non-holiday songs).  As my choir and I sang “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey, I felt at home. It made feel the same way as watching Christmas decorations go by from my window seat on my school bus (which is formally a tour bus), all nice, and really feeling special.
  • My brothers came back today from Exeter! My mom and I went to the airport to pick them up. Now that my family is together, school is over (it just finished today), cookie making will start soon, presents have been brought down to the tree (I still need to wrap my presents), everything seems to be coming together and preparing to be the best Christmas yet!

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