Christmas is all about traditions. Delighting in old ones and establishing new ones. Being an expat in Singapore, I have been separated from my family by almost 11,000 km or a 14 hour flight, for the past 21 years. Not easy...! Made even harder after the arrival of our girls and then the loss of my wonderful mum. So for these reasons, perhaps I cling onto my childhood family traditions more than most.
The few days over Christmas is the one time in the year that is mine to celebrate how I wish. For that short period, I am emotionally transported back to England, my family and my childhood again. My traditions are not diluted or mixed with those of my husband's family either. He is Singaporean Chinese, brought up as a Buddhist, who never celebrated Christmas before we met. So that has enabled me to be rigid in upholding my sacred, unadulterated, traditions whether the rest of the family like it or not...! Such as putting a clementine at the toe of the girls' stockings, insisting on brussel sprouts at lunch and forcing them to wait till mid afternoon before opening the presents under the tree!
Christmas back in england
I miss the days getting dark by 4pm and huddling around a gorgeous log fire. I miss the scent everywhere of the Christmas trees. The biting wind nipping your cheeks and fingers as you browse around Christmas markets. Ice-skating in beautiful settings, cold, damp walks with the dogs, charming candlelit carol services in nearby village churches. The broadcast of the Queen's speech accompanied by the memory of my Grandfather standing bolt upright, in salute. My Mum's perfect cooking of Christmas lunch, prepared in her Aga. The fabulous cheeses and pickles at supper and the wonderful long walk on Boxing Day to work off the excesses of the day before.
So many things to miss! That's not to mention the laughter and warmth of family! But we shouldn't pine too much. Not all traditions can be practically upheld, in our case because of the very different climate! (Although my girls insist on wearing such things as woolly hats and socks and drinking hot chocolate in 30 odd degree heat!) As the years go by and our own family grows, we create new traditions. Traditions that I hope our girls will hold dear and pass down to their children.
It was these Christmas traditions, that my mother passed down to us, that triggered my passion for creating parties. Injecting fun and beauty into everything she did. Missing her now, as always.
So whatever traditions YOU hold dear, may they fill your Christmas with love and joy!
Merry Christmas everyone!