So I guess this should be the "Spending Christmas in a Different Place/Culture" post.
Christmas came, and went. It was hard for me to get in the mood this year. I usually rely on intoxicating levels of other peoples consumerism to help fuel my more pop culture holiday spirits. The lack of pure MidWestern fa la la la la, combined with relatively warm temperatures in "my" Saraha desert, the sand, the palm trees, and the absolute promise of no snow threw me out of my normal seasonal moods. Im sure it would have been much the same if I had moved to L.A. I don't want this to sound like pined for the holiday. If anyone is really curious, I spent Christmas Eve Eve, and Eve talking to my family on Skype, and most of Christmas sleeping, hiking, and cooking.
There are those who would ask if that jolly old elf and all he stands for has made it over to Morocco and if His message has penetrated though the tight mesh of Islam. Sorta, but not by much. No one in my town seemed really aware of the holiday, or at least pointed it out to me. Since I am a lighting rod for all things outside the world of Morocco, I feel someone might have brought it up if awareness was high. Maybe everyone in town still thinks I am Jewish (I have pointed out on many occasions that I am not).
Two fresh memories to share:
First. Riding north to Errachidia in my favorate bus (the TransBougafer) thinking at the time how odd it was I had not yet seen much sign of Christmas. Suddenly, a modern sleigh (Toyota 4x4) sailed past us filled with a happy family and stamped with a Spanish licence plate. Their back window was half covered with a giant Santa Clase and Felise Navidad. We continued to play passing tag with them for another hour until we got to the station. Maybe it was the Clase family returning north.
Second. After a long and relaxing hike being invited into a house to drink some tea with the two sons recently returned for the L'Eid holiday (see next post). This caused a decorm problem because the desert hike had caused my socks to become less than Snuggles fresh&white. They were thoughful enought to not this out, and thats good because I like this family. Halfway though what turned out to be a 5 hour long visit, I noticed they had a Santa on their shelf. From my seated vantage point, it seemed to be the exact same 1970's era battery operated bell swinging Santa that my family has, and brings out of storage every year for his one month of faded glory. I had always questioned keeping the old fellow around, but now, I think he might be one of my favorate signs of Christmas. No one talked about it.