Friday, December 24, 2010

I wish I were home for Christmas

Source Website:
Tabitha Wang, Budget Tai -Tai, 05:55 AM Dec 24, 2010

PHOTO: I am missing the kind of Christmas I'm used to in Singapore.

Christmas has taken me by surprise this year.

We've only just put up the lights. The tree is still in a box somewhere, along with the dusty decorations, and we just can't be bothered to fish them out.

A few days ago, my husband and I realised we hadn't bought each other presents. Then he asked me: "Is there anything you really want?" and it struck me that I wasn't interested in spending money just for the sake of spending money. So we're not bothering with presents either.

Sure, I knew Christmas was coming. How can anyone ignore the tinny carols being played in the MTR stations or the huge light shows festooned over the buildings that make up Hong Kong's famous skyline?

But when there's only the two of you - with no small kids wanting to know when Santa will be coming - it's a bit difficult to work up too much enthusiasm for the season.

PHOTO: Santa’s Tree Farm and Village, 78 Pilarcitos Creek Road, Half Moon Bay, CA, 650-726-2246
Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

I am missing the kind of Christmas I'm used to in Singapore.

It's strange, because Hong Kong's weather is more Christmassy than Singapore's. The temperatures have plunged, warm woollens have come out and we even had a frost warning about a week ago - just the right kind of weather for all those traditional festive activities like cuddling by a fire and drinking mulled wine.

But here I am instead, wishing I were back in sweltering (with the occasional monsoon rains) Singapore.

I want to walk down Orchard Road and enjoy the decorations, kitschy though they may be. Nothing says Christmas to me more than popping round to Ngee Ann City to enjoy the soaring tree it always has in its atrium and Robinsons for its prize-winning decor.

Then it will be off to a few malls to window-shop and grab a few cheap presents for the office's Secret Santa operations.

PHOTO: WRAP the lights around each branch. Doing this gives DEPTH to your tree. Get a long strand of MOTION CHRISTMAS LIGHTS (“run” like the lights on a marquee)

And of course, I miss my family and friends.

I have a lot of sympathy for those people who are stuck in airports in Europe - especially the students because, when you're penniless, hungry and far away from your loved ones, that's when being home for Christmas really means something.

This year, it's especially difficult for me to not go home as my sister-in-law is expecting the first grandchild in the family. It has been a nerve-wracking pregnancy so far and she could have done with some support from the aunt-to-be.

My mum made it worse this week by messaging: "We've put up the tree and it's full of presents. Your other brother is home from Australia so we'll be having a family lunch on Christmas Day. Pity you're not here to roast the turkey."

She's definitely missing my cooking as, though she is a chef par excellence in nyonya and Chinese food, I make the Western stuff in the family.

So I am needed back home... but not in Hong Kong where hardly anyone knows I exist. We have made some friends here, especially since moving to a small town of no more than 5,000 people a few months ago.

But it's not the same.

We are not close enough to anyone to be invited for their Christmas party. Besides, many of the expats have started on their snow-delayed flights back home, so the crowd is thin on the ground.

Plus, our regular restaurants have jacked up the prices to ridiculous levels to take advantage of the season.

One, a Japanese restaurant selling HK$50 ($8.40) set lunches has put up its Christmas menu at HK$400 per person.

So I guess it will be a quiet Christmas for us - again. I'll make my usual pumpkin and chestnut soup, a nice roast, Yorkshire pudding and possibly a trifle, and we'll watch our traditional Christmas movie, Love Actually.

I admit I have been feeling a bit Grinch-like and blue about the whole not-being-home-for-Christmas thing.

Then yesterday, I saw something that made me feel a teensy bit warmer. A man threw some money into a beggar's bowl then, instead of simply walking away, stooped down and squeezed his shoulder.

The beggar smiled, the man smiled. And I went away thinking there may still be some love left on Christmas after all.
By Tabitha Wang, Budget Tai -Tai, 05:55 AM Dec 24, 2010

Tabitha Wang wishes all her readers a Christmas full of love, joy and lots of roast turkey.

PHOTO: Handpicked Christmas Greetings for Christmas 2010
Christmas, is time for festivity, celebrations, gifts-giving, games and Christmas greetings. Traditionally, we sent each other the Christmas greeting cards, which are still very popular now. But as the high prevalence of cell phone, more and more young people are likely to send SMS Christmas greetings instead of presenting Christmas cards. It is one of trendy Christmas ideas to send Christmas wishes via mobile phone.

Here are several examples for Christmas greetings.
  • May the joy and warmth of Christmas fill your home with happiness.
  • May peace and love be your gift at Christmas and always!
  • Wishing you the peace, joy and happiness of Christmas!
  • Merry Christmas!
  • Merry Christmas and a happy new year.
  • Best wishes on this holiday season.
  • Wishing you and yours a merry Christmas this holiday season.
  • We wish you a merry Christmas.
  • Wishing you a beautiful holiday season.
  • Happy holidays!
  • Wish you health and happiness in the year to come.
  • Season’s greetings.
  • Wishing you a white Christmas.
  • Noel!
  • May peace, happiness and good fortune be with you always.
  • Have you been naughty or nice this year?
  • Don’t forget to hang up the sock!
  • We’ve had a rather uneventful year!
  • May the holidays fill your heart with happiness.

Christmas greetings to parents:
  • Mom and Dad: Thank you for everything this holiday season!
  • I’ll be home to enjoy this Christmas with you.
  • A present from me is on the way. Hope you’ll like it.
  • I wish I were home for the holidays.
  • Thinking of you at Christmas time.

♥ The song of the angels,
The joy of that night,
May it shine round your hearthside,

And make your paths bright.
Merry Christmas!

♥Give deeply,

Give freely,

Think kindly,

act gently,

and be at peace with the world…

This is the spirit of Christmas.

At the same with the Christmas gifts, Christmas greeting is also a traditional Christmas celebration in the season. So no matter you send your Christmas wishes by exquisite Christmas cards or you deliver your greetings by mobile phone, the recipients will be pleased and cheered by the thoughts and care you want to convey.