Ever since I was a kid, I have been super into Christmas and I mean annoyingly into Christmas. The holiday season has always been my favorite time of the year for more reasons than just one. Christmas is by far the best holiday in terms of spirit and presents which is just a few of the many reasons I love Christmas.
Christmas is a time where people come together despite their differences and who they are. People seem to be happier with holiday cheer. The thought of going to the mall does not make me sick with the disgust of consumerism, but rather feels my heart with joy to see a collection of people spending time and their hard earned money trying to make their loved ones happy. Christmas seems to bring out the best in people, I usually never talk to strangers, but after Thanksgiving, I am given holiday greetings by almost everyone I encounter.
Growing up, I always loved seeing the decorations and passing by a house to see a tree lit up in the window. Christmas is my favorite holiday because the magic that Christmas brings seems to never die. Even as I grow older, I get to see that childlike joy in my little sister as she asks me to help her with her Christmas list and makes sure everyone in the house knows not to dare touch the elf on the shelf or he will lose his magic. Christmas is the best holiday because just for a little while everyone believes in the impossible.
But, my absolute favorite part of Christmas is something I wasn’t able to realize until I went off to college—being with my family. Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday because just for a few days my sisters and I stop fighting, my dad is off from work, and I am home with my family. There is something about Christmas-time that seems almost magical with the feeling that everyone comes together. I am so lucky that I am able to be with my family and show our love and appreciation for one another no matter what else has happened throughout the year.
As a child, I loved all things Christmas and would always be excited to decorate the tree and wrap presents. And while I still do love to do those things, I care less about the presents I get and more the feeling I have known all my family is together. Christmas is the season for giving, caring, loving, kindness, and sharing. While Christmas is a special holiday that we get to experience once a year, I sure hope one day we can take some of that Christmas spirit and make it year-round. Christmas is a time for bringing people together and expressing their love which is why it is my absolute favorite holiday.
Photos Sourced From Pexels: Photo 1, Photo 2
Date of Trip: August 2010
My Best Trip in My life!!!
I’m happy to tell you about my recent trip to Morocco. We travel as a group of 8 (4 families with teenage children), always the six of us, and every year we go to a different place. Money permitting, we love to travel, but we tend to stay away from organized tours in the usual sense of the word since so often they tend to protect from really getting into the places, skipping from one tourist attraction to the next. This year we decided to go to Morocco, mainly because it seemed inexpensive, but after the vacation we were definitely in love with the place.
We flew into Marrakech and were impressed immediately upon arrival by the airport building: its incredible roof outside is like lace and the sun shines through it, casting beautiful shadows on the pavement: there already was an incredible atmosphere greeting us. We took a taxi for 6 (a minivan) and for 15 euros were taken to Marrakech, with hundreds of scooters speeding around us! Our hotel was right off the Jeema el-Fna – an orderly chaos of smells, colors and sounds, by day and into the night! We hadn’t yet learned to not fall for taking pictures of guys with cobras (after you do they demand money), but that is how it started! We spent 2 days in Marrakech visiting the traditional tourist destinations (the souk, the Saadian toumbs, the Majorelle Gardens, the Tower of Hassan II and so forth) before we were met by our travel guides (sahara-magic .com) that we had selected for the real tour: Hassan ghana of sahara-magic(he speaks 5 languages, and is half Tuareg, half Berber) and said (he absolutely doesn’t speak any foreign language but drives fine!). From the outset, we found Hassan an incredible person, full of joy, outgoing, but never intrusive.
We left for Ouarzazate where we visited the Kasbah Ait Benhaddou (a lot of movies were made there) and then off to the Todra Gorges. Here we stayed in a hotel built in the caves! How wonderful! If you want I can give you its name. The next legs of our trip were the classic ones: Erfoud, Merzouga, Rissani, Zagora and Ouarzazate: you can do them with any tour operator, but what we experienced is unforgettable. At Erfoud we had lunch at home with Hassan’s family: What a welcome! We ate couscous the way they make it and drank REAL mint tea, his sister’s friends were doing henna tattoos, and did it to us, too. The next evening we headed for a desert oasis on camels, to spend the night in a berber tent distinctly counting every star in the Milky Way (well, almost all). How can we forget, while at his family’s home, how Roger ‘vomited’ from having drunk milk in his morning coffee?!?!? But that mishap actually led to an interesting experience! Hassan ‘s mother massaged special points of Roger’s wrists and feet with ‘magic’ oil, and incredibly, somehow, after a quarter of an hour, Roger was good as new.
And how can we forget our stop on the way to Zagora, stopping to take a picture, when suddenly 2 children leaped out from nowhere offering a pony made of mud, they had made with their hands, in exchange for some candy! And when they accompanied us through the tiny dark inner passageways of a small town in the south, revealing the meaning of poverty, enabling us to quietly and respectfully peek into the everyday life of people in southern Morocco. And how can we forget our lunch, eating Berber pizza, in a small rug factory, sitting in the midst of all those dancing colors and so many types of fabric! I could go on for hours recounting the feelings, more than the places we visited. Thanks to Hassan(organizing everything down to details like cool drinking water, snacks, SD cards for my camera and making us always feel safe in places that are so strange to us in culture and language) and to said, who, though silent and not speaking our language and understanding little, was an incredible and fun travelling companion.
Feelings, understanding the land and the people of the country we are visiting are what we seek when we travel and that is definitely what we got this time. And our children thank us for it, too.