Had you asked me that question hailing from the Band Aid song about 10 years ago, I probably would have said No, or at least that I knew, but it didn’t really mean much to me!
I grew up in rural Malaysia where we learned that Christmas day was Jesus’s birthday but that was just yet another lesson at school and was of absolutely no significance to my young self!
After a year at school in India, we lived in Singapore for a couple of years and the Christmas spirit was a little bit more alive there, but in the form of the lights that adorned Orchard Road and while it was something we used to go along to see, I didn’t actually know how that linked to Christmas at all!
Movies like Home Alone were something entirely foreign and when we moved to New Zealand when I turned 13, I started to make a connection between the Christmas movies I had seen and the festive season! But December is one of the hottest months of the year in NZ and BBQ’s were a regular occurrence so it never occurred to me that what I saw in the movies was actually how celebrations occurred in the northern hemisphere (Minus the comical aspect of leaving a child home alone).
I did once go to a Christmas dinner in NZ, a friend’s parents were appalled that I’d never had Christmas dinner and invited me along but there didn’t seem to be anything magical about sitting inside on a beautifully sunny day eating a hot roast dinner with rich trimmings and so I couldn’t see the appeal at all!
My first cold *traditional* Christmas was many years later when I visited my wonderful extended family in Canada, there was turkey, stuffing, presents under the tree, eggnog, snow outside and it felt like I’d been transported on to a movie set of my own!
I’ve been in the UK almost 8 years ago but I still only got to decorate my first tree only a few years ago when we went up for a family Christmas to the in-laws and they hadn’t had the time to decorate, so I got to do it and it was easily the most exciting time I’d ever had at Christmas, I bounced around the tree and refused to let anyone help me!
I love looking at the lights, the intoxicating smells of mulled wine and mince pies, the sheer volume of chocolate and lovely food that appears to be everywhere, singing along to Christmas songs on the radio (In December, not in October when they appear to start!)
I didn’t miss Christmas growing up at all but since I’ve been in the UK I’ve learnt that Christmas is a great way to get used to the onslaught of winter, it’s basically an excuse to buy your loved ones loads of stuff, stuff yourself silly and decorate your house and that’s a good enough reason for me!
This year, we’re off to spend our Christmas holidays in Singapore and I admit, when I’m over that side of the world, I don’t miss it at all so I think for me at least, it’s the cold and dark that makes me want to put on my Christmas hat but when I’m in the sunshine, I am equally happy to put that aside and treat it like any other day!
I have put up a tree at home though and found myself buying the sprog little mementoes of his first Christmas, not that he has the faintest idea what’s going on, but so in many years to come, he’ll grow up enjoying this fun time of year!
How do you and yours spend Christmas?
This post is part of the Travel Link up hosted by the lovely ladies Emma, Kelly, Rebecca and their guest host Ayla.