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White and Green Christmas Days



 

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas on Sunday? If your home is in Chicago or in ten other US cities, multiple weather reports confirm you don't need to dream. Meteorologists predict snowstorms throughout the weekend.


Growing up in Chicago, I experienced more than a few white Christmas days. If it did not snow on December 25th, remnants of the last snowfall clung to the grass, sidewalks, and streets. It wasn't picturesque like you see on tv, but it was beautiful until I had to go outside.


If you live somewhere with harsh winters, then you know the pain of cold mornings and the responsibilities of clearing ice and snow from your sidewalk, driveway, or car windows. The reality of the need to shovel can make waking up after white Christmas dreams feel like a nightmare.


As a child, I couldn’t sleep the night before Christmas. The anticipation of presents under the tree kept my eyes open after the lights went off. Before online shopping, I circled items in the newspaper's Toys“R”Us ads for my parents.

Some years, my caring mom and loving dad fulfilled my wishes. I remember the cowboy outfit with cap guns I received one Christmas morning. Pictures of me with the hat, vest, and toy guns are in my parent's attic or my oldest sister's garage.


In the less memorable years, I opened boxes with ugly sweaters, underwear, and matching socks inside. My practical parents gave me what I needed, and not always what I wanted for Christmas.


Now with three children, I find myself following a similar pattern. My children add items to an Amazon list; I select which things fall into the cart and save the others for later. I am flexible with holiday gifts without stretching our family’s budget.


Perhaps, your children form Christmas lists online for you. The gift and curse of technology win again. Things have changed.


My parents wanted us to avoid the commercialized trap of Christmas. It was always about more than getting more stuff. Well, at least to them.

Mom and dad demanded we understand the holiday as a celebration of Christ’s birthday. I can hear them say, “It’s about giving rather than receiving,” in my head as I type this sentence. Before my sisters or I opened gifts on Christmas morning, my dad prayed the longest prayer of the year to ensure we absorbed the meaning.


Don't do that to your children. Instead, keep the prayer simple and direct to the point.


This year my family will celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa to end 2022 and begin 2023. We do things differently from my parents, but the children will receive gifts and recognize the Nguzo Saba principles. The season is full of family games, top-notch meals thanks to my wife, and life lessons.


I imagine the next week will look similar for you and your family.

Last Sunday, I sat on the couch with the World Cup on the TV, my middle son and my wife beside me. In between holding hands, lunch, hugs, and dozing off, we cheered as Messi led his team across the green turf in Qatar to victory. My son, a huge soccer fan, enjoyed every moment of the game and time with us.

After Argentina’s win, I compared my children’s lives to my childhood. I played basketball, rode bikes, and ran track. They swim, skateboard, and play soccer. Christmas in Chicago was synonymous with gifts, cold weather, and possibly snow. After opening Sunday's presents, we may go to the beach.


There is no chance that a speckle of snow will fall in Antigua over the next two days. God willing, the sun shines, and the palms sway in the wind.


Be extra cautious on the roads this weekend if the weather forecasts in your community include snow. Reports of car accidents and dangerous traveling conditions will increase over the next two days.


Thank you for supporting my creative expressions throughout the seasons. View the vlog episode below for glimpses into 2021's December with family. Read the final post of 2022 next Friday.





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