Bananas for Christmas

Christmas Day 2017

To me, Christmas used to mean hoping I’d be gifted something I couldn’t afford with what little money I had at any given age. Over the years, it lost meaning and became a superficial expression of long-standing friendships with people I’ve known forever but hardly know. It nearly lost all meaning when Christmas at home stayed the same 80 or 90 something degrees it is during the other 11 months of the year and the gifts I received were gift cards for which I had next to no use, further diminishing the faith I had in restoring the happiness and unconditional joy of Christmas.

But in a little over a week, with people I hardly know but feel like I’ve known forever and whose names I can’t remember with confidence, I felt communion for once, I felt like the company wasn’t there out of routine or obligation, I felt like everyone wanted to be there. I loved it.

A wise woman I met that week told me a story of how her life was much simpler in her single digits and the one gift she remembered that filled her with the most joy as a child was a box with two bananas, an orange, and a pack of peanuts from America. Bananas and oranges and American peanuts were not local to her hometown, making them more valuable than they would be today to most average 6-year-olds. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the sentiment, making me wish gifts that simple had such profound meaning for all giftees nowadays.

What a wonderful world that would be.

I spent that entire Christmas day in one of the most beautiful and historical cities I’d ever visited, had some of the best cultural food I’d ever tasted, and met some of the most beautiful people I’d ever lay eyes upon.

But just for the record, on Christmas day, I danced with a Hungarian man in the middle of the woods while a hammered dulcimer filled the surrounding air with coppery tunes and upbeat music that my two feet could never seem to keep time with for more than four steps.

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