Friday, December 21, 2012

Ken-Bun-Ki "Christmas"

Note: "Russell's Ken-Bun-Ki" is a series of articles I wrote for my Japanese City Hall newsletter back in 1996-97. They were articles about life in America or life in Japan as experienced by an American. This one is from December 12, 1996. 


 I get the most home-sick for America at this time of the year. After we enter December every day counts down to Christmas and I want to return to America. This time I would like to talk about my favorite nostalgic Christmas memories.

The celebration begins on Christmas Eve, December 24. We go out to listen to Christmas church choirs or concerts, we watch Christmas programs on television, we prepare for the Christmas Day dinner, or we wrap the last-minute Christmas presents. Basically it was family time.

In every home the parents get ready for Santa to visit after the children are asleep. I hate getting up in the morning, but at Christmas even I would get up at 5 am or so and sneak downstairs to look at the presents under the Christmas tree. I have two sisters and one brother so Santa brought enough presents for all four of us. It was a lot of fun to look through all of the presents to search for those marked "To Russell." Later we would open our presents as a family. First we would look at what was inside the stockings hung on the mantelpiece. Usually they were colored pencils or school supplies. They weren't usually expensive or "good" presents. However, one year when I was in high school my mother opened one of her stocking presents and was very surprised. My father had put in a diamond ring to catch her off-guard. My mother was very happy.

After our stockings were finished we would each get to open one present under the tree in order. This was so that everyone could share the happiness and so that each of us could see what the others got.

Just thinking about it warms my heart. Christmas truly was a fun time. I want to make similar memories for our daughter, too.

(Sorry if this is hard to read!

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