Even though I've been preparing (buying things) for Christmas and even doing Christmas lessons at schools for over a month, I'm only beginning to feel the "Christmas spirit" now.
I spent the entire evening on Monday baking Christmas cookies (my regular chocolate chunk cookies but with red & green M&Ms added) for my students. Since it's my last year here, I decided to make cookies not only for the Kirita JHS students, but also for all of the students and teachers at the nearby feeder elementary schools--Kamikirida and Shimokirida ES. It took about six hours, but I managed to make 155 cookies in two batches--of which I gave away 154.
Even though it was really time-consuming (I was baking from 6-11pm), and I was tired because I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, baking the Christmas cookies was very soothing/relaxing. It made me feel happy in spite of my fatigue. Somehow, there's something about baking Christmas cookies that really puts me in the "Christmas spirit." Maybe it's because baking cookies has been my Christmas tradition since high school...
Anyway, after/while baking the cookies, I also wrapped presents for all of my Kirita students. In my first year, I only had one present for each grade (gingerbread house kits) and we played pass the parcel. Last year, though, I had tons of small "prize" things--SpongeBob files, pencil cases, etc.--that my mom had brought/given me, so I had one present for each student and we did the present swapping/stealing game in every class.
This year, I did the present swapping/stealing game with the first year students with the remainder of the prizes from my mom, but I bought a bunch of snacks and made presents for the second and third years as well. Since the students were generally too nice last year and didn't really steal presents from each other, I decided to skip the "game" and just give out the gifts to the second and third years this year.
But yeah between wrapping the presents and putting the cookies into individual gift bags, I ended up staying up until about...4am? And I was up the next day at 7:30am (about 30min. earlier than usual) to deliver the cookies to Kamikirida ES before going to Kirita.
Even though I am enjoying the Christmas preparations/lessons now, I'm also really looking forward to the plane ride back to Canada. I expect I'll be sleeping for almost the entire 13-hour flight! =P