Ah, Christmastime, the time of year where nostalgic parents mail their children at faraway colleges things to commemorate the holiday season.
Some parents send cookies (mmm, mmm). Others send tinsel. Some carefully mail menorahs.
My mother sends me a Christmas tree every year.
Granted, this is only my second Christmas season away from home, but for two, yes, two consecutive years a fully-decorated 3-foot plastic fir has arrived at my doorstep.
Okay, I had to drag it to my doorstep from the mail center. And no, it's not a genuine, living arboreal piece that gives my room a fresh pine scent. But it was, at least, fully decorated both times.
Last year my mom went nuts and got totally sucked into to the Harvard self-aggrandizement trap. She decorated my tree with crimson silk roses and crimson silk ribbons, along with the requisite pearls and lace and battery-powered white lights.
This year I advised some restraint, and my tree is now adorned with tasteful mauve silk (although Mommy has stuck with the roses and ribbons motif). Presents are gathering beneath it--the ones I plan to schlepp home mingling with the ones I plan to schlepp across the hall.
There's something neat about actually having a Christmas tree in your dorm room. It may sound silly, but it makes the season seem, well, more real.
After all, it's mid-December and how many people around here have even noticed that their respective holidays loom near, or perhaps have even begun? Amidst our last-chance papers and end-of-term exams it's easy to forget that Christmas (or any other holiday) is coming.
I remember being so excited about the holidays as a child that I could barely keep from eating all my Advent calendar candies before the Advent even officially began. Now there's not an Advent calendar, with or without the sweet stuff, anywhere around my room.
Perhaps Cambridge's dearth of snow so far this year has kept us skeptical that winter's really coming. But when I lived at home, even a snowless Long Island December was never enough to preclude the lights lining houses and entangled in leafless trees that let us know it was time to go shopping.
Spirit seems to have improved this year--lights have emerged in yard windows and around doorways. Holworthy's dorm-spanning extension and Hollis' "Noel" earn special note.
But it's still hard to keep track of that seasonal entity which was so important back in the comparatively stress-free suburban life I led before.
True, three-foot trees are but a material reminder of the Christmas spirit, but we cannot take for granted what they symbolize--love from home, family extending to us their celebration of humanity.
So even crimson-trimmed trees are welcome additions to my room--especially when they come with a side order of Christmas cookies.
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