first, i'd like to make respectful mention of my late aunt who passed last january from mouth cancer and is the reason my parents have come here in advance to celebrate holidays before her 1-year death anniversary. before this milestone, it has been a non-stop barrage of activity: reuniting with rarely-seen family and toggling between each of our homes, overdone mall trips, and indulgent eating; it just dawned on me that we never really had any specific holiday traditions when we were being brought up.
i don't ever recall the "spirit" of christmas when i was a kid. it was all paired down to eating loads of food and spending tons of money (that aspect certainly hasn't changed!). we didn't have all the luxuries that a modern-day california christmas today would allow: up until the late 90's, a real christmas tree was never accessible in guam; there were no outlet malls giving you that satisfactory sense of shopping; and the groups of friends my parents had were friends we'd only see at christmas. quite possibly there were occasional visits with santa at the so-called mall and sporadic family portraits that could be dug up as evidence. so today i can't help but enjoy the whimsy of being a complete unit.
and today, we've officially crossed the threshold into 2015. soon my parents will fly off and our lives will reset as it were. i never ask for much, just that i make it to next year.