CALVIN: This whole Santa Claus thing just doesn't make sense.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Why all the secrecy? Why all the mystery?
If the guy exists why doesn't he ever show himself and prove it?
And if he doesn't exist what's the meaning of all this?
HOBBES:  I dunno. Isn't this a religious holiday?
CALVIN:  Yeah, but actually, I've got the same questions about God.

Bill Watterson

In the six years we had lived here, we had yet to attend the tree lighting ceremony in town. In our last year of living here, ironically, there have been a lot of firsts. People gather in Central Square, an island in middle of downtown. Citizens lost over the past year were remembered, The Polar Express was read, and Santa was ushered in on a fire truck, lights flashing. Finally, the tree that grows and thrives
  right on the edge of the square was lit.

My toes were frostbitten, but I didn't care. The kiddos were hosting a bake sale fundraiser for an upcoming trip to Washington D.C.,  and the overall spirit of the evening was contagious. In just an hour and a half they received almost $500 in donations. After the month-long hubbub about Black Friday, my faith in humanity was restored. 

I also took the opportunity to practice my night photography. Oh, and my favorite: the blurred Christmas lights shot. Mario gifted me this camera last Christmas, so this will be the first year where I can actually experiment with effects and lighting. I'm off to a good start, I think. 

After the tree lighting festivities wrapped up, we decided to try a new restaurant we recently discovered. They serve authentic Cuban and Venezuelan food in a cozy, intimate setting. It has a decidedly mod feel. The food was off the hook and the prices were not fancy at all. We spent almost two hours talking, playing word games, and taking a tapas approach to dinner. The yucca fries were amazing, but the Cuban coconut cake was off the hook. Holy moly. I'm finding a recipe pronto.

I don't regret for a second opting out of the Black Friday frenzy. We went to CrossFit and ended up staying for two hours. There were so many people we had to be broken up into three groups, hence the length of the session. We had a great time! Everyone was interacting and helping each other out. I've been struggling with how to integrate Mario into my CrossFit world, but yesterday went a long way toward helping me find a better head space. I challenged myself and he was there cheering me on and serving as my rep counter.

I like this quieter, calmer approach to the Christmas season. We've allowed it to come more organically which has served to remove a lot of the stress that has historically accompanied the season. And because we avoided having Christmas forced on us, genuine excitement has begun to build. When we got home Friday night, Mario proclaimed that, for him, the buzzing began the moment the town tree was lit and the crowd began to cheer. I imagine a bit of it will happen for me today as we hang decades worth of ornaments, each containing their own memory from years past. Once the semester comes to an end on December 11, I will be able to really focus on the joy this time of year can bring.


  1. You captured the evening well and I'd say you are off to a fabulous start on your blurry Christmas light pictures.

    1. Thanks, Nicki! There is something about the abstract, blurry Christmas light photo I just love. Is that weird? :)


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