It was the night before Christmas and I was very sad because my family life had been severely disrupted and I was sure that Christmas would never come. There was none of the usual joy and anticipation that I always felt during the Christmas season. I was eight years old, but in the past few months, I had aged greatly.
Christmas had always been for me one of the joyous religious festivals. The children and all the young people loved to make colorful crepe paper ornaments and decorate their homes and schools with them. Beautiful Christmas music could be heard everywhere on the streets, on the radio and even on television. It was the time when relatives and friends visited each other, so there were always people traveling and visiting with great joy from all the different cities. I wished I had some of the traditional food of rice, chicken, goat, lamb, and fruits of various kinds consumed at Christmas now.
All of us looked forward to the Christmas Eve Service at our church. After the service there would be a joyous procession through the streets. Then on Christmas Day we went back to church to read the scriptures and sing carols to remind us of the meaning of the blessed birth of the baby Jesus. After the Christmas service young people received gifts of special chocolate, cookies, and crackers. They also received new clothes and perhaps new pairs of shoes. Young people were told that the gifts come from Father Christmas. We always thought that these were the things that meant Christmas.
However, this Christmas Eve things were different, and I knew Christmas would not come. Everyone was sad and desperate because my grandfather had died three days before Christmas. He was 92 years old, but he had energy as a young man. Every Christmas, he was the person who used prepared everything for the whole family. He used cook some of the traditional food such as rice with pork, a dish call tamales, also he baked some cakes and bread. He name was Vicente. My whole family was depressing. No one spoke to anyone. My grandfather was very important to us at Christmas because he used to always take us to the church to engage with all children of other families. The night before Christmas we would not be the same as the other ones because we had to bury him. That was a very painful time for my entire family and especially for me because he was like my father. I live with him most of my childhood because my dad had to come to this country. I grow up next to him. I used to help him with his job even I was a kid, but those things made me to love him more than the rest of my family. He taught me many things that I did not understand at the time for example that Christmas is more than a gift that I could reactive. I always thought that Christmas was a big party and gifts, but now I understand the words that my grandfather said to me.
Now Christmas to me is a celebration, which includes spending time with my family, decorating the entire house, inside and outside, and some shopping for the people that I love. Doing this with the people I love is what means the most to me. Spending Christmas with my family is very important to me. We usually gather and celebrate with my family at my parent's house. Because I am here I just meet some of my family, the rest is in my country, but this not breaks the real meaning of Christmas to me. My sister and her husband,