Homesick for the Holidays

December 25, 2011

Oh, the holidays.

I thought that I based my definition of Christmas as a mainly retail-oriented holiday, with hustle, bustle, and sale after sale. Everything in and around stores gets shiny, with bright golds and silvers against reds and greens. Even my beloved Starbucks turns its iconic white cups red. Because of the material nature of the holiday, I thought I wouldn’t miss them.

We’ve been celebrating Chanukah. I heard the story of Chanukah the first night, and I’ve participated in candle lighting almost every night since. I even fashioned my own chanukiah for our apartment. I sort of learned the words to the blessing said over candles, too. Tonight marks the sixth night of Chanukah. Maybe if it isn’t raining tonight, I’ll head down to Mea Shearim to see all the chanukiot glowing brightly in the windows.

Christmas came all of a sudden, with almost no warning. There were no stores counting down the shopping days left, and no carols at the spinet. We had a small Christmas potluck dinner on Friday, where we exchanged some gifts. Yesterday, Christmas Eve, I visited Rob in Tel Aviv, where we ate a light dinner, biked around, and avoided getting caught in the rain by spending hours chatting over coffee, pastries, chai, and sahleb. No one should be alone on Christmas Eve. Today, Christmas Day, a group of us went to Ben Ami in Emek Refaim to enjoy a Christmas brunch centered around French toast that everyone’s been raving about for weeks now.

I’ve come to the conclusion that holidays are (to me) lesser about the material, the gifts, and the visual merchandising, and mainly to me about gathering with people to celebrate together. You could have guessed this from any number of romantic comedies set during the holidays. I’ve found great comfort in the support and company of my friends here, and with those important people I keep in contact with abroad. For these people, I’m grateful.


Villanueva Family Christmas 2009


One thing that’s missing is the company of my family. It hasn’t been until today that I’ve truly missed them. Above is a photo of us from Christmas 2009. Come to think of it, I actually think today is the first day I’m homesick. Maybe this week has had too many days off, and maybe I need to get back into the swing of things at school.

But this is telling. Is there a such thing as being too busy? Have I been so busy until now to see that there might be something missing here? I’m homesick for the holidays, and for the first time since I’ve been to Israel.


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  1. Merry Christmas bud!! Thinking of you!!!

  2. Thanks Evan! I hope you had a good Christmas!

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