Merry Christmas (Sort of)
Christmas is next week, December 25, and I'll be taking the day off work. I make a point of doing this every year, because working on Christmas makes me sad.
Not that I'll be doing much that day. This year Christmas falls on a Wednesday, and my wife has to work for half the day. I'm letting both of my daughters stay home from school, but at most we'll go for a bike ride together, or go see a movie at the movie theater.
As those who know me are probably aware, I am not a particularly religious person, so I won't be spending Christmas thinking about how Jesus died for my sins, or how the three wise men followed a star to find him in a manger, or how I should go to church more often. My family has never celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday.
I also won't be sipping eggnog, or opening a lot of presents. I hate eggnog, and my wife and I have decided to forego presents this year. Instead, we are taking our daughters to Kaohsiung on the weekend just before the holiday, and once there we will be selecting our own presents from whatever Dream Mall has to offer. My mom and dad did send some presents over, and we'll be opening these on Christmas Day, but these presents will be opened in the absence of any Christmas trees, any snow, and any Christmas carols.
Sounds kind of sad, right? Such is Christmas in Taiwan. After a while it tends to lose its meaning, especially if you're surrounded by a predominantly Buddhist population which doesn't place much importance on the holiday. Chinese New Year in Taiwan can be a blast, but Christmas? Kind of a non-event.
And I might try harder with regard to Christmas, except my daughters don't care much about it either. They are almost as Taiwanese as other kids, and their attention is focused elsewhere. They have fond memories of the few Christmases spent in Seattle, when it REALLY meant something, but by now they're largely oblivious to it. Of course they're happy to get presents, and they're happy to take a day off school, but for them Christmas is nothing compared to other, louder, more Chinese holidays.
Just the same, I try to keep Christmas alive in my family. It's important to me. I consider Christmas my time to rest, and my time to remember the importance of family and friends. I also want to celebrate Christmas because it represents the culture I come from. Christmas is Home, no matter how far away Home might be.
Here's wishing you a merry Christmas. It might not be Chinese New Year, but it is worth remembering.
My Grandma, Kathleen Johnson 我的外租母 (中)
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