The last time I experienced a kindergarten Christmas was 18 years ago and I was not living in Thailand. I was in Mrs. West’s class on an Air Force base in northern California. And if my memories of kindergarten are correct, I think a few of us dressed in red for Christmas, but I don’t remember anyone wearing a Santa suit. Yesterday, I must have seen over 100 kids ages 2-6 dressed in full Santa suits. Buddhist kids don’t mess around about Christmas.
Let me first admit that I was probably just as excited as the kids… maybe even a little more. I had been pumping my K1 Watermelon kids full of visions of Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman and presents under the tree for probably close to a month. Our classroom was covered in crayon-colored Christmas trees, wreaths, stockings and Santa heads with cotton balls for facial hair. There were even popsicle-stick snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and cone-shaped reindeer on the display board outside which the kids took delight in ripping the paper eyeballs off of in the days leading up to the Christmas party.
And finally, the big day had arrived: the Kindergarten Christmas Party!
The kindergarten assembly area was transformed into a Winter Wonderland theater and the kids were the stars, performing everything from Jose Feliciano’s ‘Feliz Navidad’ to John Lennon’s ”Happy Xmas (War is Over).’
Not unlike big events at the school, things didn’t exactly go off without a hitch. Kids were sweating profusely in their Santa suits; activities were set up and dismantled only to be set up again; classroom parties started without anyone but a few parents and kids present.
Nevertheless, to the kids, it was Christmas. So they dried their tears, performed their songs and patiently awaited the arrival of the bearded fat man they had heard so much about… and with him, their long-awaited presents.
At the end of the day, most of my kids didn’t go home to eagerly await actual Christmas Day. Why would they? They’re Buddhist. But they all went home completely content they they had been good enough all year to warrant Santa giving them a gift and they would treasure that gift… until a few hours later when they would forget about it as 3-year-olds do with such things.
I do realize that I’m using this post to yet again talk about my kids, but they honestly are wonderful little creatures. Each one unique, curious and like an actual sponge when it comes to learning new things. And, as a kindergarten teacher at Christmastime, what could be better than getting a gift like this?