I'm so excited to present Carlotta Cisternas, one of my greatest friends. She is a beautiful writer and today, she is sharing one of her family's traditions with us. Leave her some love! 

Hello! My name is Carlotta and I love Christmas. When I decorate the tree or listen to Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole Christmas songs or smell the sharp piney scent of winter, I feel like I could burst with Christmas cheer. It's just so pretty and wonderful and magical! (let's see how many times I can say the word Christmas in this post, shall we?)

Ellie asked me to write about a personal Christmas tradition for her 24 Days of Christmas Cheer series. My family has a lot of traditions, but I think my very very favorite one is the Christmas Eve church service. Just before 11pm, we leave the house in a perfumed cloud, clothed in our fanciest attire. At church, the lights are dim and incense wafts from the altar and around the wooden rafters; the service starts with an invocation and Christmas greeting. Towards the end of the service, the lights are turned off and everybody lights candles and that's when the magic starts. The glow of the candles gives off just enough light to read the verses and the stone of the church walls fades into inky black. We sing carol after carol as the clocks ticks up to midnight and falls back down. When our candles are reduced to a waxy puddle and we walk out into a cold, star-filled night, it is Christmas. That's when I'm filled with the most Christmas cheer; I don't only feel like I could burst, but I really think I am. ;) I don't have any photographs of this most magical of nights, only my words and a thankful heart.

I'm Carlotta Cisternas. I'm just another angsty teenager that doesn't know what to do with her life. My motto is eat, sleep, read. I dream in color and brownies in the middle of the pan are the best. I own too much striped clothing, country music is my (not-so-guilty) pleasure, and I over-think everything. I have a traveling soul. I'm a Christian, daughter of a pastor, and afraid of living a life that's ordinary. I can usually be found taking pictures or reading or scribbling in a notebook or wandering about aimlessly contemplating the meaning of life. Hi there.
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