Holiday Reflections

Today is the first true day of my holiday, as I lay in bed until ten before slowly preparing coffee and a light breakfast before settling down to lazily catch up with my digital goings on. There are still presents to make, or piece together from stops at the mall or other local shops, and a trip into Kitselano to pick up my new, temporary bottom teeth (meaning that for Christmas I am literally recieving my six front teeth). But today I intend to explore my Google Reader’s starred items, Twitter Favourites, and Delicious network’s bookmarks – which though managable through the myriad capabilities of my iPhone, persist in becoming cluttered.

But before I begin with all of that, I wanted to share and point to a few strudent reflections on the holiday season. A festive lot if the school were to have one, our class made Friday a memorable celebration of family in the form of our class with energy and creativity. When we arrived in class, my teaching partner and I were introduced to a video bearing the first clue in a scavenger hunt that would – in rhyme – lead us to the band office, PE Wall of Fame, front hallway and back to the classroom to find it decorated and ready for our pot-luck Secret Santa gift exchange. But the Hunt wasn’t over, as each of our clues had yeilded several Scrabble pieces that still had to be assembled to yeild the final hints which led us each to the hidden locations of our gifts from the students.

scavenger huntAt such times I cherish being a part of a class that is capable of taking ownership over the ongoing creation of community and a nuturing learning environment. The leaders in class have gone to great lengths to establish a sense of familial interdependance this year, and continue to look forward to this spring’s Adventure Trip and In-Depth Studies with energy and originality.

In honour of my first real morning of holiday, I wanted to share some of the class’ writing about Christmas, and the holidays, and spread some of the class’ holiday cheer. I look forward to the coming week providing me with the time to adequately reflect and create posts on a few classroom topics and activities (including the “Don’t Stop Believing” in Christmas Sing Along, the TALONS class’ Representative Democracy group project, and a few of the early results of our school’s Social Studies Educational Technology Learning Team). May your holidays be similarly inspiring, and lend themselves to an energized start to the new year!

I find the evolution of Christmas quite fascinating. Once the holiday was Pagan, then it became Christian, and now I’m not sure what it is. I think how you view the holiday probably depends on your family and where you live. My family, for one, is not Christian but we’ve celebrated Christmas my entire life. I guess we see it as a celebration of family and a reason to light up the darkest months of the year. Many people I know feel the same way. Yet, in the United States, where my grandparents live, Christmas is still very strictly religious. Merry Christmas only belongs to Christians. Here in Vancouver, it doesn’t really matter. We don’t need Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. Our class has recently been discussing multiculturalism and I think that the more liberal Canadian view of Christmas is a reflection of our attitudes towards the celebration and preservation of diversity. Why make Christmas, the best holiday of the year, exclusionary? Well, happy December!

How was I supposed to explain to my 7 year old brother that magic was real? Last year my mum showed me the Christmas present that Santa was going to give me, telling me that he wasn’t real. It didn’t upset me that my parents lied, because, for me, they made the magic true. They helped me understand the wonder in the unknown and also, in giving. Why would an old fat man give gifts to millions of kids and get nothing in return? My parents showed me what being generous and caring meant through Santa. When I bought or made gifts for people, I felt like Santa, I felt magic.

Last year’s Christmas seemed a little less special, a little less anticipated, a little less…like the feeling you get when you bundle up on a freezing snowy day, drinking hot chocolate, feeling it trickle down your throat and the warmth spreading through you, while watching the sheets of snow silently drifting down. What joy it was to know that you were remembered by such a busy person with so many people to keep track of. What bliss it was to know that you were special.

I suppose I believe things that people find silly, like unicorns or other mythical creatures wandering the depths of some nameless forest, alternate worlds, rips in time and places, that some crop circles are made by aliens, the Fey and Faerie of the old haunts in British Isles, Atlantis, that stars are actual beings put up by the gods in mythology….and other things that perhaps are not so silly: fate, destiny, heaven, reincarnation, love….magic in general.

What I’m trying to say is this: Christmas comes but once a year, so we should all make the most of it. Some things are out of our control, but that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the holiday season. There are so many wonderful, glorious, and exciting parts of Christmas. It is a most beauteous holiday. So from me to you (whoever you may be), have the merriest Christmas you’ve ever had!

2 Comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the students’ writing – beautiful! I only wish I’d read it before Christmas! I purposefully unplugged to fully engage in the holiday but yesterday I plugged back in to get caught up!

    Holidays are a wonderful time for reflection. It’s wonderful to have a job that allows for breaks in the work routine long enough to rejuvenate and reflect. Thank goodness, could you imagine teaching with only a 2 week holiday once a year?

    Enjoy the break!

  2. It was interesting to hear about the Scrabble gift from your students from your perspective, Mr. Jackson. Kelly could not contain herself as she described how this whole process unfolded. The energy and industry that the TALONS students demonstrate in such endeavours must be rewarding to you as a teacher. It fit nicely with the other comments that you included from Ariana, Louise and Katie. That sense of energy and enthusiasm for the season gets displayed in other ways, even when believing in Santa ends.

    Dale Bryant

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