For 2,2 billion of people, this weekend is probably the most important one in the year. That is why I wanted one of these 2,2 billion to tell more on these few days. And then I met this beautiful, heart-warming girl whose name is Miranda Sofe Nelson. Miranda and I have few things in common. We’re both twenty-something students with big dreams and a fear of flights. And even though we may be looking at it from a bit different perspectives, we both cherish love for storytelling. And that’s what brought us together despite the 9-hour time difference!
During our Skype conversation, we talked on religion, holidays, traditions and most importantly, spreading love. She spreads love right here. So, meet my new over-the-ocean friend!
”Well, in my family Christmas is all about the family. And my family is really… not weird; well they are weird, but kind of just corky if that makes sense. My dad’s extended family all lives in the same town as me, so we are all really really close on my dad’s side. And we do all these corky things like this year we had a family prom. Like a family formal dance for no reason other than that we wanted to. It’s awesome! We like to party a lot. And that really comes out at Christmas time. So, we have lots of family traditions and stuff like that. Another thing that we always do for Christmas is that we make these chocolates. These chocolate candies. We make like thousands of them every year and we give them out to people. We usually start in November. We start making these candies and then dip them in chocolate and give them to friends. And it’s really awesome. I’m not really good at it. (laughs) So, I usually get to do side things, like clean up afterwards or something. But it’s cool because we get to spend time with grandma.
We also do a lot of traditional stuff, like putting up the Christmas tree every year. And every year mum buys us a new ornament. Like, for every one of the siblings. So, I have a collections of ornaments that all belong to me and I get to take them out with me when I move out of the house for real. When I’m a real adult. It’s lots of fun.
Christmas Eve is a really big deal for my extended family. We do this thing I’ve never actually seen another family do besides my family, so I don’t think it’s an American thing, I think it’s just a my family thing. It’s called the ‘’Youlog’’. I don’ even know how to describe it really other then it’s all these small strips of paper that are wrapped up in this big streamer. And as you unwrap it, a paper falls out and you pass it around a circle and you unwrap it until a paper falls out. And then you read a paper and it has instructions on it, like ‘’Have these grandkids sing this Christmas song’’ or ‘’Have the whole family recite this poem about Christmas’’ or something like that. And my family is huge, like there’s always at least 30 or 40 of us doing this activity together and it’s really a cool thing. It’s super fun! I have a lot of younger cousins, so there’s a lot of kids running around. It’s hectic and it’s crazy but it’s a great thing, I love it!”
Making new rituals
”I think we have more traditions than it’s probably normal. Because we get caught up in a lot of things we do. We do it once and we’re like, ‘’Oh that was fun, we should do it again!’’ And it’s really cool because it gives us an opportunity to spend more time with the family. Sometimes we have traditions where we’re like, ‘’Why are we doing this? This doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense.’’ And we just cart it. (laughs) But it’s great. Another tradition that we have is… My grandma is an amazing, wonderful granny, she has 28 grandkids I think. And every year she makes all of us Christmas pajamas, so we get to wear them to bed on Christmas Eve and so, for a part of our Christmas Eve, all of the grandkids get to open their gifts and get these pajamas and then we put them on and then all take a picture, and it’s really really cute and fun. (laughs)
Religion related traditions
In America most people celebrate Christmas pretty heavy, whether you’re Christian or not, or super religious or not. My family does happen to be pretty religious, so Christmas involved a lot of religious activity. So, one of the things we always did was have Grandpa read the Christmas story from the Bible to us. And that was cool. It’s very sentimental. And after he reads the story one of my uncles, every year, says ‘’It gets shorter every year’’ and it’s just like a weird joke. (laughs) We have a lot of weird traditions. Another weird traditions that we have is that somebody would say ‘’Merry Christmas’’ to somebody in the family and it turns into this game where you can’t say it to somebody who’s already had it said to them, so someone will say ‘’Marry Christmas, Miranda!’’ and I’ll say it to Sally, I’ll be like ‘’Marry Christmas Sally!’’ and she has to say it to somebody who hasn’t already been told. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s something we do every year. Going back to religious stuff, one of the things we did when we were kids was the Nativity scene. We don’t do it anymore really. All the grandkids would act out the scene, and I always really really wanted to be Mary, but for some reason I never was. There was always a cousin that was cuter, or younger then me who wanted to play Mary, so I never got to play, I was always like a stable cow or a wise man. (laughs) And it was fine, I guess. I don’t have any hard feelings over it.”
It’s all about giving!
”I think that my favourite part of Christmas would be the service aspect behind it. Every year we try and go out and serve people in some ways. So, one of the things we do a lot is… In the States we have what’s called ‘’Toys for todds’’. And basically there are these bins all around the town and you can put toys in them for children who live in families where they can’t afford to buy Christmas presents themselves. It’s a pretty common thing to do in the States. One thing that my family does is that they have these huge warehouses where they store all these toys and they ask for Santa shop volunteers where you go and basically pick out toys. They get a list of a child and everything he needs and what he wants and then you go shopping for that child with all these donated toys. And it’s really cool. It’s kind of shopping for somebody but you don’t have to spend any money, and it’s really cool. We didn’t get to do it this year, and I’m super bumbed about it.
Another story on what we do is go sing at the nursing home. Which is super cheesy, it really is a super cool experience. Because old people don’t care if you sound good or not, you just go and sing and they’re just elated to see you there. We go and sing songs to the old people and it’s really really fun.
And then just the idea of gift giving in general. There’s a lot of people who don’t like Christmas because it’s very materialistic and it distracts from what is really important. But you give a gift to somebody who really really needs it. And there’s nothing quite like it, it’s a really really special experience. And I think that, for me, is what Christmas is all about. Whether you’re very religious or not, it’s just an amazing way to spread love, you know?”
Christmas – A holiday of the Christians’ or ?
”I think there’s a lot of people who want Christmas to be more Christ-oriented, you know more religious. And I agree with that, but I think in a sense that making something more Christ-like means spreading the love. To be Christ like means to spread love. And so I think excluding it to only a Christian holiday doesn’t really make sense for me. And I think it’s awesome that everyone in America can kind of indulge in this like, very giving time of the year. And all over the world, I guess.”
Thank you Miranda, for sharing your story with me, and all the others with the world! This world truly needs more people like you! 🙂