I never realized the existence of Christmas until I was in the US. I came acorss four Christmas days during my stay in the US.
On December 25, 2001 I was in New York City with my cousin and his friends. We wandered around Manhatten, did some ice skating, looked at the giant xmas tree, and overall had a great time.
On December 25, 2002, I was on my way to Dallas from Longview, Texas where I worked for 6 weeks in a mall as a salesman on a Jewellery and Watches shop. My contract was until Christmas day as immediately after that I had to join the grad school and arrange an apartment in Dallas. Those were perhaps the busiest six weeks of my life. I worked 12 hours a day that became 16 hours during the week before Christmas. Sold a lot of jewellery and watches, made a lot of money for my employer, and witnessed Americans spending money like crazy. As a resulf of that job, I was able to finance myself for the first semester of my graduate studies.
On December 25, 2003, I was doing graveyard shift at a gas station in Dallas. It was one of the slowest nights of the year. It was my winter break and I had been doing night shifts for many days. Again, I made enough money to partly pay the tution for next semester.
On December 25, 2004, I again found myself at a gas statation, a different one this time. I switched because I was not getting enough hours to work and my expenses were increasing. This new place offered me 60 hours a week and it was also closer to home. Also, that was my last week in the US. I had completed my Masters program and had decided to return to Pakistan and work in my home town.
Back in Pakistan, the gravity of christmas that I always felt in the US was lost again. The Eid which is closest to Christmas, is perhaps not as festive and extravagent. It has its own joys and pleasures, and they are equally treasured. But still, christmas is celebrated with a greater enthusiasm in the US than Eid in Pakistan.