Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Advent #16: Christmas in School

There are only two things that really stand out in my mind about our Christmas celebrations in school: the first is making the green and red construction paper chains that were never equally red and green and were always completely squished by the time they got home. The other is being bussed to the nursing home to sing to the residents.

Every year, a few of the classes would be sent across town (about 5 miles if that) to the nursing home, which was always just a little too warm, so we could sing 2 songs, visit with the residents for a few minutes and then be taken back to school. I always hated the smell of that place-to this day, I hate the smell of nursing homes. I know the residents were appreciative of us though and sadly, for some, we were the only visitors they got over the holidays.

When I was in college, my sorority had a Christmas celebration in which the members decorated the tree to surprise the pledges. After the pledges were brought back to the house and pretended to be surprised about the tree, we sat around and sang carols and then had a nice lunch. It was quite the sisterhood event and a great way to help bring on the end of the semester (and finals-ick!). The best part of this celebration, however, is that each pledge was given an ornament that had been decorated with their name. When the tree came down, the seniors got to take their ornaments and the rest were packed up for the following year. A few years ago, when James and I were living in Phoenix, I was one of the advisors for the Arizona State chapter. They were a very small chapter and did not have any holiday traditions and I was so proud to make each of my newfound sisters an ornament and share with them why I had done so. Each year when I do my decorating and pull out my "Heather" ornament, I am reminded of this wonderful tradition.

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