The Gift Of Christmas
Christmas is my favorite of all holidays. There is something magical about this event that allows me to go back in time and recapture my happiest childhood memories.
When I was a kid, I remember Christmas day as a huge event where my family gather at my grandma’s house and together with our other cousins we would exchange gifts, play games, sing, dance, share stories and jokes, feast on delicious foods including a delicacy called Lechon. It was a time of sharing generously and making an extra mile to make our love ones happy. When it was time to go home, each family carries a box full of presents and loads of wonderful memories.
Christmas then was also about remembering the precious gift of one’s faith as well as valuing traditions. Every Christmas eve, my parents would take me and my siblings to our town’s church to celebrate the birthday of Christ. I remember how excited we were lining up after the mass so we can kiss the blessed statue of the newborn Jesus laying on the manger. This was the Christmas I knew.
People do change. Nowadays creating fun-filled, beautiful, lasting memories and making my family happy excites me more than receiving presents. To give and seeing that bright sparkle in their eyes as they open and experience their Christmas surprise gives me more joy more than anything else.
Last Christmas my wife asked me, “What gift do you want?” My answer was, “Nothing material. I have everything I could ever want.” She asked me again, “Seriously, what do you want.” With a huge grin, I told her, “Can I have a lifetime of happiness.” While laughing she said, “He, he, he.” Then I laughed with her too.
Today, I share with you a trip we made last December first at Galveston Island as part of my “lifetime of happiness” wish list. It is my gift to all of you for the blogger friendship you gave me since “This Man’s Journey” made its first baby steps. It may not be much but I hope it creates an exciting Christmas surprise that will bring a smile to your heart during this magical season of joy and new beginnings.
Revisiting Dickens On The Strand
Every year, Galveston Island host the amazing Dickens On The Strand where they relive the Victorian London holiday of Charles Dickens. It is a magical way for people to experience the simple yet meaningful Christmas of the past.
We reached the seawall around noon and decided to have a quick brunch at McDonald’s. My son had fish sandwich and we all shared the french fries. I was sipping my coffee when I read on the cup the words “Unwrapping the joy.” I told myself, “I can’t wait to unwrap the joy of the day.”
So many interesting characters that day. My son who is into Army stuff got excited when he saw these soldiers marching down the street.
One thing that stands out was the overflowing of amazing talents of all ages. Musicians, singers, dancers, actors, jugglers, comedians were just a few of the many entertainers that day.
Christmas is not complete without Christmas Carols. So many beautiful voices that day blending in perfect harmony.
As I listened to these young carolers sing, I remembered how me, my sisters and cousins would go around the neighborhood singing Christmas carols using flattened soda metal caps as improvised tambourines. I remembered too how happy we were of the few pesos we earned from our caroling. A few pesos we saved so we can buy our simple dream Christmas toys.
Finally, the parade was about to start. It was hard to find a spot with the best view. My son got lucky. He was small enough to squeeze in the front row.
Meet the Queen. She waved her hand to the crowd’s delight.
She was then followed by the town’s people. Their costumes were really colorful but what made them shine were their cheerful and generous smiles. This lady was so believable when she said, “Sir, can you spare me a dollar?” I whispered to my wife, “Do you have a dollar?”
The stirring sound of the bagpipes filled the air. For a moment, the crowd was quiet, just listening to the soul of the music.
Snowflakes were flying everywhere. It doesn’t normally snow in Texas but that day a Winter surprise happened. It may had been a make-believe snow but it captured the magic of this wonderful season.
One of the coolest groups were the Steampunks. It was like watching a live Sci-fi show. Their costumes were totally awesome!
Meet Mr. Balloon Man. Very creative don’t you think?
It was unusually hot that day. We decided to cool down inside the Tremont House. As we sipped our brewed coffee, my wife said, “Love their interior designs. It’ll be cool to stay here in the future.” I told myself, “That’ll be an exciting surprise.”
My son sat close to the stage as we watched the costume contest.
This was my favorite for the “Family” category. I believed they won. Beautiful family that truly embraced the festive spirit of the occasion.
Time flies when you are having a fun time. Before we knew it was getting dark. On our way out, I saw this family. The elder brother and his sister were playing the violin as they walked towards the exit. Looking at them, I am once again reminded that Christmas is about being around my family. Family that I love. Family that I will ever need. Family that will bring me wonderful surprises even on ordinary days.
This week’s Image of Life is titled “A Christmas Surprise.”
Christmas surprise comes in various packages. Some are small. Others big and extravagant. Some are wrapped while others are just as beautiful the way they are. Some can be visually seen and touch while others only felt by the heart. Regardless of how they are presented to us what matters is the intention and meaning we put in all of them.
Thank you for sharing your day with me. Wishing everyone a Christmas full of surprises and bountiful blessings.
What’s that Christmas surprise that takes you back to your happiest childhood memory. What surprise do you wish to receive this Christmas?
Discover the inspiring world of these blogger friends.
For those who wish to join in this week’s challenge, here’s a link and the widget. Have a great time making wonderful memories.
Images taken using an iPhone 4 camera with Camera + App and Nikon 1 J1. My friends, have fun discovering and creating the most beautiful images everyday. They are a part of the unforgettable memories you make in this lifetime.
- Dickens On The Strand (handofbelapeck.typepad.com)
- Holiday Happenings In Houston!! (mix965houston.cbslocal.com)
- Christmas all around Texas (mysanantonio.com)
- My Favourite Dickens’ Quote (onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com)
- A Day in the Life of a Dickens Village (edgeofstory.com)
- On Charles Dickens’ 200th Birthday, There’s No ‘Bah Humbug’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- MORNING PAGES: Christmas Magic (cowpasturechronicles.wordpress.com)
- 6 Great Activities To Introduce Kids to Charles Dicken’s “Christmas Carol.” (loonyliterature.com)
- Celebrate First Christmas in Style (cardstore.com)
- Countdown to Christmas with our Christmas Advent Calendar! (debenhams.com)