Whether you celebrate it or not, I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! Christmas is my favorite holiday and the one time every year I make sure to return to my family's home in America, outside of Baltimore, MD. It is a time to come together as a family, rest, reflect, and share.
For many, I know holidays with family can be a trying affair. I love my family and consider them among my best friends, so I always look forward to spending time with them. This year, it will be particularly nice to be together, as my grandmother passed away in November.
The exchange of gifts and sharing of food are two of the most ancient and most important customs worldwide. It is virtually impossible to build or strengthen relationships without these simple acts. Christmas is an opportunity for me to think carefully about the people I love and work to choose a gift that will suit each. It's a challenge to think about not what I would want to receive, but what they would most enjoy and appreciate. Keeping it secret is also a fun challenge!
Many years ago when I was still an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, I planted over 100 seedling evergreen trees in our backyard. Over the years, we have transplanted most of them as they have grown and have used them to create an impressive and beautiful wall of green around our property. In recent years, they have got so large that they have started to crowd each other, so we have cut several down and used them as Christmas trees. In reality, we can only use the top portions, as the full trees are much too tall. The base branches have oft been turned into wreaths. There is something very satisfying about cutting a tree that you have grown from tiny seedling to towering giant. It's also satisfying knowing that the trees need to be cut down regardless in order to ensure the health of the grove.
So, whether your language learning is on hold or not over the holidays, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!