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The Magic of December

“Winter is not a season, it’s a celebration.”
– Anamika Mishra

Autumn was longer and warmer than normal this year (yes, technically it is still autumn). The usual easing into winter didn’t happen. With the recent dustings of snow and holiday decorations in the malls, it feels sudden that the “holiday season” has arrived.

A few days ago, I arrived at AAS to find the campus decorated for the holidays. I did not see anyone doing the decorations, so it makes sense to assume that House Elves did the decorating while we were sleeping. I am grateful they did it. (It was actually a student group who volunteered their personal time–kudos).

One of the decorations that appears each year at AAS is a gargantuan inflatable Santa Claus. In years past, Gargantu-Claus has magically appeared in many classrooms across the school: teachers arrive at school in the morning, open the door to the darkened classroom, and find a 2.5 meter Santa waving at them. I wonder if that will happen this year.

I thoroughly enjoy the holiday season. We have our family traditions that are slowly morphing as our kids get older. This weekend is dedicated to decorating the house, which is never as fun as anticipated, but is well worth it once it is done (until it is time to undecorate). Whether at our house or out and about, I appreciate the holiday lights that illuminate the cold dark winter.

The AAS decorations are unmistakably Christmas oriented. In an international community of around 50 different nationalities, with different cultural and religious traditions and beliefs, I sometimes wonder about the Christmas decorations. Personally, I love the festiveness of any decorations regardless of the culture or religious celebration they represent, but I know not everyone feels that way.

I am grateful to live in an international community wherein there are many different cultural and religious celebrations and traditions. In addition to experiencing and learning about the different ways Christmas is celebrated around the world, this December we can learn about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and more. Global Citizenship is an essential part of AAS; recognizing and respecting the full range of cultural and religious celebrations is a gratifying way to grow as global citizens.

There can be a tension when recognizing cultural or religious holidays in a school setting. It has the potential to make some students and other community members who do not celebrate that holiday (in this case Christmas) feel left out. That is never the intent, but it can be the reality. I welcome the recognition of and celebration of all holidays. If you have thoughts about this, I’d love to hear them.

In addition to cultural and religious holidays, Friday, December 9 is National (U.S.) Pastry Day; Friday, December 16 is National (U.S.) Ugly Sweater Day. There is always something to celebrate.

Whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, other cultural or religious celebrations, or just decide to wear a hideous sweater on December 16, I wish you a festive winter!

“She stuck her head out and took a deep breath. If she could eat the cold air, she would.”
– Sarah Addison Allen

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