It's only 14 days until Christmas! I hate the commercial holiday that most people call christmas but I'm not against the gifts exchange, of course. My perceptions of Christmas have been changed by time and experience but even when I was a child this wasn't my favourite time of the year. I lived in the north of the country in a city called Braga, surround by mountains. Braga is a very religious place where holidays like Christmas or Easter are taken very seriously. I had a tree in the house, a Christmas dinner and Christmas presents like any child. But winter was a dark time for me and still is - I disliked the lack of light and electric colorful lights from decorations did not compensate the absence of the sun - for most Christmas we got cold and rain. I had no school class at Christmas, I was home for two weeks and that was nice. I enjoyed the smell of cookies in the kitchen and getting Christmas cards from my mother's friends and family! But for the big time fun I had to wait until June's S. João Festival - S. João was my hero, not Santa Claus!! This year it will be difficult to be "jolly" when you know things aren't going so great for a lot of Portuguese people. This time of the year will be hard on those who are unemployed and feeling hopeless as another year of austerity is about to start. I guess most of us are not quite jolly about anything. As for me I always try to be positive and keep going. Whining is not the solution. No one will solve my problems.
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