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In this essay I’d like to talk about my favorite time of the year – Christmas.
It’s only been a few days since Thanksgiving and every house twinkles with flashing lights. All the children are outside hurling snowballs at each other while their parents relax at the fireplace drinking to the last vestiges of their peppermint coffees and pumpkin spice lattes. Boxes wrapped with lustrous bows glisten under trees adorned with glimmering ornaments, waiting to be torn open. They say it’s the “most wonderful time of the year”. Truer words were never spoken.
Every year, the Smiths invite the whole neighborhood over to plan a Christmas block party. When I step inside their house, the smell of roast chicken and gingerbread fills the air and their dazzling decorations entrance me. All of a sudden, I hear Mr. Smith tap his glass and preach in his soothing voice: “We all gather every year to celebrate the spirit of Christmas. This is when we act on the values God gave us: love, faith, compassion, friendship, hope, service, and gratitude.”
After his spellbinding speech, Mr. Smith begins to distribute responsibilities among the townspeople. From the children to the grandparents, he makes sure everyone plays their part and enjoys it. His wife and her friends make food and drinks while his companions build a stage and take care of logistics. After taking care of his own business, he puts his arm around me and warmly says: “Music and service, your favorites. That’s your job.”
“All performers gather around me!” I say excitedly. The children’s choir along with twenty people comes to me as I grab a notepad. We sit around the fireplace and discuss how we want the party to pan out. Several hours later, I have several pages of notes, from choreography to song choice. Some people chose to perform as a band while others chose to go solo. I would perform two numbers myself, two with my friend, and conduct the children’s choir.
Throughout December, we all work incredibly hard for our performances. Adults sing for hours after work, while teens go to each other’s houses after school to rehearse. I spend hours every day after school conducting the children’s choir at church or rehearsing at my friend’s house. About a week before Christmas, we all meet at the Smiths’ residence and watch each other perform.
Every year, I’m always amazed at what I see. Tears of joy run down my cheek when I listen to the raw emotion in everybody’s voice. I see friendships strengthen, romances spark, and children grow. The countless hours spent with each other and numerous heartwarming moments make the whole experience spectacular.
Along with the hymns and carols, service adds a special joy to Christmas. Mrs. Smith always tells us: “If you don’t have Christmas in your heart, you’ll never find it under a tree.” I collect donations from everyone to give to Toys for Tots: a wonderful charity that distributes toys to families who cannot afford them. In addition, my friends and I disguise ourselves as elves and put down gift boxes outside the homes of low-income families trying to avoid being seen. Helping others empowers us all and fills us with great pleasure.
After an amazing three weeks, Christmas day finally arrives. I feel pure excitement course through my veins and take a deep breath of the cool Christmas air. I see Mr. Smith nod and let the performances begin. As I proudly watch my friends perform, the audience dances and sings along. Everyone, regardless of age, race, or ethnicity, holds hands united, and shares utter joy.
While I’m on stage conducting the children’s choir, I’m reminded of what life is about. Everything Christmas entails, from spending time with family and friends to gifting and serving others, gives me joy and purpose. The magical spirit of Christmas is what makes us great people, and being surrounded by so many great people is what makes Christmas “the most wonderful time of the year”.
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