Hi, I’m Rofida Bakheet, and I’ve done more Christmas stuff this month than I’ve ever done in my life. Christmas Parties, Christmas Karaoke, Gingerbread Houses, Secret Santa, the Polar Express, even an Ugly Sweater silent disco – I’ve done all of it. God bless!
And I’m about to tell you all about it. The first time I celebrated Christmas was at work. Nonprofits and their holiday fundraising, am I right? The Cookies and Cocoa event at L’Arche was more than that though, because it was more than just donors, but real L’Arche community members. I got to spend hours talking to my friends Seth & Brian, and it somehow counted as work hours, a double win. Then there was Holiday Karaoke – also a L’Arche event, also fun (Isang “It’s Raining Men” for a live audience. And yes, my boss won’t stop laughing about it.)
Then there was the Christmas Party we hosted, and by we, I mean the JSC Krewe. If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. It was a swell time with people pouring in and out to eat cookies, drink hot cocoa, but mostly just chat. And vote for who had the best ugly sweater (I won, by the way). It was great to connect back to the JSC community, the people who, in a sense, Christmas is all about – generosity and friendship.
The Secret Santa and Polar Express were more personal JSC friend group moments. I had never done either before JSC – to be fair, I hadn’t done anything Christmasy before JSC – and part of that is because I never had the group of friends to do it with. But now I do, and I’m so thankful for everyone for making it so special. Shoutout in particular to Lynn & Tasha, who not only decorated our house beautifully but accompanied me to a holiday light show in Raleigh, singing all the way. Honorable mention to Charles for hand-making Polar Express tickets and punching out words in them afterward, a true labor of love considering we do not own a hole punch. (It took a very long time.)
I’ll be honest. I had mixed feelings about Christmas going in – and I still do. It’s hard to embrace something you’ve been shut out of all your life, to the point where sometimes participating feels like giving in. Yet, L’Arche, the JSC community, and my JSC friends made this holiday season a victory.