That Special Christmas Feeling

November 29, 2008 at 7:39 pm | Posted in Life in the US, The Bucket, Working | 5 Comments

I’m the type of person who keeps her feelings closely guarded.  My true feelings often come out in a stream of invective and swears and very rarely comes out in tears.  When I’m actually ready to share my feelings, it’s when I’ve managed to attain a level of removal.  Recounting events that made me feel deeply and sharing my emotions about such events becomes almost clinical.  In my evasion of all things real, I am truly at my WASPiest.

Which is why I’m so surprised at my talent for getting others who equally bury what they feel to spill their guts.  Especially those who pride themselves on presenting a “Fuck You” front to the whole world.  Kids who show their pit bull exterior to everyone start to roll over and show their puppy soft underbelly the moment my office door is closed.  My coworker and officemate like to play Good Cop, Bad Cop, but when the doors are closed, we suddenly turn into everyone’s Special Mommies.

I have been witness to the most amazing self-disclosures, some ridiculous and some sublime.  Who new that Woodlawn’s residents hard ass wants to become a CNA to “like help old people and slow people”?  I was certainly taken aback when another very masculine kid screamed “Yo, that’s my joint” and starting singing and dancing wildly to “I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world.”  And I went home and cried after one kid who feels the need to check in daily put his head down and starting crying over what shit he thinks his life is. 

But one of the most recent confessions was part pathos and part pure innocent joy.  We had three dear fellows in our office, all ripping high and quite relaxed.  One was going through the ringtones on his new cell phone and playing them for us.  There was some country and western tune and I asked him how he managed to steal a cell phone from a redneck.  Then he came to “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” and everyone thought it’d be great if that played every time his phone rang during the Xmas season. 

Another very high young man said, “Aw, I can’t wait until Christmas.  I just love it.” 

And I responded, “G-Black, I am just picturing you wearing footie pajamas and opening your stocking gifts.”

He said, “Naah, dawg, it ain’t even that.  I don’t even get presents like that.  I just love that special Christmas feeling.” 

His friends laughed out loud and half-heartedly tried to make fun for sharing that.  Then they started saying, “Yo, n***, I feel you on that.”  I tried to get them to commit to going carolling but they told me they’d get shot.  Then they launched into their favorite tough guy conversation of which brand of hot cocoa they prefer and whether little marshmellows or Fluff belong in the perfect cup.

So this comment of “that special Christmas feeling” has spurred us into action.  How shall we make Christmas special for this amazing group of people without being totally cheesy?  How can we celebrate this season with no money yet remind these boys that they are loved and honored?  And how do I remain open to new insights and be the receptacle for their relevations while never engaging in self-reflection?

I think that last question is key, and one of the reasons why I very rarely share of myself and therefore post infrequently.  I am only willing to share of myself through the medium of others. 

Regardless, I feel the excitement of Xmas joy and want to share it.  Most want to feel that joy through their small loved ones who still believe in Santa.  Yet for me, I want to bring that sense of abundance and joy to those who feel that this sense of abundance is reserved for others.


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  1. Melissa, I was thinking about you today and decided to “check you out.” All I can say is, “I am amazed by all you do for these kids of yours and know that, even though some of them will probably never admit it, deep down inside, they know there is someone out there who really cares about them!”

    How are you and “Homeboy” doing? Has he returned home since he received his visa? I’m sure he is adapting very well to our ways, but imagine he probably longs for the Yucatan at times! I do too! :o)

    Anyway, I was planning to send you an email with a link for a little slideshow on the Juarez Forum, but I’ll just give it to you here! Didn’t want you to miss your part in our Forum Family Slideshow! Check it out if you have a chance:

    Girlie, I just know you will find a way to “bring that sense of abundance and joy to those who feel that this sense of abundance is reserved for others.”

  2. As usually, this is a beautifully written post. I agree that there’s a fine line to cross between utter cheesetastic Christmas, yet still managing to make sure it’s heartfelt.

    Good luck with the boys, it’s a fun and warm and fuzzy read hearing about you getting them to open up!

  3. Hi! I have been thinking about this and I think you should ask them what makes Christmas special to them? We had traditions with the kids, we always made decorations, you could do popcorn and cranberry strings, it’s old fashioned but kinda cool. We used to make table top trees, you use a Styrofoam cone,those green gummy spearmint leaves and gumdrops and glass head pins. You can cut the leaves and gumdrops in half if you want. Starting at the bottom of the cone you layer the leaves, attach them with the glass head pins. The gumdrops become ornaments. Of course you eat the leaves and gumdrops as you are making the trees which is why I always cut the leaves in to thinner slices.

  4. I gotz a little misty reading this one. I was going to mock you for sharing so much of your self, but that would be a backwards step, wouldn’t it?

    Secret Santa, limit of $5 would be fun (no spliffs allowed, haha). Get someone to write a Christmas song (rap? do kids still rap these days?) about all the folks in the center, a 12 Days of Christmas kind of thing and post the lyrics around. Heck, have a Christmas rap contest. Have everyone that comes in decorate their own paper Christmas stocking and hang them around the center (quick photo copies of blank stockings and some crayons, easy peasy). You could even build a fake fireplace with some big brown paper to put the stockings on. Make a “Santa in the Hood” doll. Candy canes from the dollar store might help with some of the munchies.

    Anywho, I’ve blathered on enough. HO ho ho and all that jazz.

    Found this and had a giggle

    Found this one and didn’t really understand it, perhaps you could translate?

    Love ya girl, glad to see you posting.

  5. We’ve started decorating for Xmas, and Toys for Tots did their thing at the Comunity Center for three days. It’s been interesting asking the boys what they’d like for Xmas…they get all quiet and usually say, “naaw, I don’t get Xmas presents.”

    Still trying to think of something small yet something they could appreciate and use. I’m afraid to do a Secret Santa! Most likely there will be blunts and stolen cell phones if we do that! They seem to like the idea of popping some popcorn, heating up some hot chocolate and watching Scarface.

    Thanks for your comments!

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