Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

A christmas favorite has always been the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Not entirely sure why, but laughing at the Grinch's sinister smile and singing along to Ravenscroft's "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" has been an annual tradition.

The little dog is darling, the Whos are ridiculously utopic, the grinch defies physics way too many times, and the songs are weirdly catchy. My mom has been using the movie as a teaching tool in her english classes here in Spain; it's rather amusing to see her students watch it for the first time. Their expressions subconsciously mirror those of the grinch. Once the movie ends, she explains the moral: it's not the presents or decorations or location at Christmas that's important, but being with those you love.

Christmas in Spain is different. Really different...but it's still just as special. Our Christmas tree is a wooden triangle atop a post. Decorated in colorful trimmings, fruit and plants from the region, and bright red candles, El Ramo is a different kind of tree....but I think it's beautiful. There are no presents beneath it, there aren't any twinkling lights. No christmas music plays on the radio (haha, a bit of a relief), Santa Claus is made fun of, and there's no eggnog.

Our Christmas Tree

Last night, we all crowded around Enrique's family's table in Léon to celebrate Christmas Eve. The Spanish chatter rose as everyone joked, laughed, teased, and ate merrily. The talk was cheery, but I'll admit, the food was daunting. The first course was eel salad. You look down at your greens and sitting atop are dozens of little, squishy baby eels. Yeah...that was rough. Needless to say, Christmas meals are rather different here too.

We squeezed all ten of us into the kitchen

But this place is beautiful, and today we had an American meal so I could relax with my pumpkin pie and green bean casserole. Food security blanket, thankyouverymuch. When all is said and done, though, it's like the grinch's not about the food, nor the location, nor what actually happens at Christmas. At the risk of being super cheesy, it's being with those you love that makes it a real holiday.

Merry Christmas. Give someone a hug.

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