My cousin Lorena asked me yesterday when I had my last Christmas at “home.” I told her I have not had Christmas at home since I came to Asia. I have just spent my fifth Christmas here… my third in Hong Kong… one other was in Thailand and another in Borneo, and when I say it like that it sounds cool enough to make not being home with family at the holidays the way forward. But they have been a mixed bag, these Christmases, all important in their own ways, which is not to say the stuff of a Hallmark TV Special. It is my opinion that people are often disappointed in the holidays because there is so much build up and so much pressure and so many expectations. I have not felt disappointed in a long time about this time of the year but this is mostly because I have fallen out of the habit of even considering that there might be anything remotely similar to the holidays of stereotype for me to compare my situation against.
At the end of the day, I think that is probably a pretty good thing.
I spoke to my family several times over the past couple of days and while they are all in groups and gatherings elsewhere, we made one here. I spent the day with my Hong Kong family and it was lovely. We had all the little details that make up a holiday. Curly ribbon, sparkly lights, chocolate, the exuberance of a six-year-old that can only come from a six-year-old at this time of the year, warm food, music, movies, gifts, neighbors dropping by, smiles, a growing family, pets, poinsettias, crystal, snuggles and silliness, hugs, headstands, questions (“Can we open the presents?), mysteries (“Why can’t we open the presents?”)
It was lovely and I am so grateful for my Hong Kong family. I may not be at home, but I am somewhere that is just fine for right this very minute.
No sense worrying about keeping up with the Jones’s when everything here is so lovely.