Since I'll be spending my first Christmas in Japan (thesis is due January 13, not conducive to trans-Pacific travel!), and U, who has never celebrated Christmas before, and I will be spending our first Christmas together, I began to think about the traditions I want to hold on to, and some new ones I want to start.
Growing up, Christmas was a day of family. When I was very young my parents and I would fly to Vancouver to spend the holidays with my father's family. We moved to Vancouver the summer before I started grade one, and I still remember my excitement of living permanently in a city that for me was full of good food, presents, and grandparents and other relatives (I was the first grandchild) spoiling me rotten. We continued to spend Christmas with my dad's family, which grew to include my two younger cousins as well as aunts, an uncle, and my grandparents. Every year we'd gather at my grandparents, then in later years at my aunt and uncle's place. After my grandmother passed away, however, and my cousins and I grew up, getting all of us together for Christmas began to happen less and less. The past few years its been just my dad and I - with family friends joining us for dinner. This year will be only my second one away from Canada and my dad, my first being 5 years ago when I was volunteering in India.
This year, with my thesis hanging over me, I don't have a lot of time, but I don't want the holiday to slip by without recognition, so I'm plotting to include as many traditions as I can. With the cultural collision that is bound to happen, if they end up coming out looking nothing like what I'm used to, that will only make it all the more memorable - like door-to-door caroling at the homes of Hindu friends in the warmth of an Indian evening dressed in a red and green sari and reindeer antlers! So, stay tuned - while there may not be 12 days of Christmas for me this year, there will at least be a few, and who knows what will happen!
my usual Christmas dinner role - making gravy
Only this time it accompanied fried chicken, had to be enough to feed 40 people,
and I had to try not to stain my festive sari!