It’s the first day of Christmas vacation, and before I hop on to viola practice and this short story commission that I desperately need to turn in (ugh, thinking about my day is stressful lol), I wanted to blog about Christmas! (as the title might suggest) I was inspired by blog posts about reindeer food and painted plates for Santa’s cookies, which led me to a thought of “hey, I don’t think we ever did that in my family.”
My memories of Christmas is very limited. Growing up in Taiwan, not many people actually celebrated Christmas–well, they did, but it was more for mere celebration and gift giving than actually celebrating the birth of Christ. Fun fact? Though December 25th is an unofficial holiday, it is actually supposed to be Taiwan’s Constitution Day–not Christmas.
When I was growing up, I went to one of those English-speaking preschools, and that was my first taste of American culture. We learned about Santa, learned a few Christmas songs, did a gift exchange, and even put on a Christmas show for our parents. There were no reindeers or cookies or even elves, though, and that was something that was quite popular amongst American children–but I’ll get to that in a bit.
Looking back, my parents really tried making Santa a reality. Foster the imagination of a 5-year-old, I guess. But that never worked for me. Somehow, I always knew my parents were behind the stuffed animal or the craft material under the tree. Once, after learning the Up on the Housetop song at school, I went back home and asked my parents how Santa would come to our house because we didn’t have a chimney or a fireplace (we lived on the eighth floor of an apartment building). My dad’s response?
“He’ll come through the toilet, of course!”
Okay, he tried. You have to give him that. Looking back, his response was hilarious–but I think that was about when I realized that Santa is entirely my parents.
When I moved to America and experienced my first Christmas here, I was 10. Every kid, somehow, had an elf, and my sister made reindeer food at school, and I was so confused. I had already established the fact that my parents were Santa, and I told the other kids that, but they insisted that elves were real, Santa was real, and reindeers were real. So for about a few days, I started believing again (I was quite gullible back in fourth grade), but my parents didn’t play along since 10 is really kind of old to be believing in Santa (in my opinion, anyways), so I let that go, too.
I didn’t tell my sisters until about two years later that it was mom and dad. (achievement unlocked! for keeping a secret! and being a good sibling!) I stuffed their stockings and ate their cookies and got rid of some of their reindeer food that it looked like reindeer really came through, haha.
And now? Christmas is a pretty small thing at my house, and for us, Christmas is just a time for family to be together. We set up a tree after Thanksgiving, but we don’t really go out of our way to get each other gifts (it’s one of those, “it’s cool if you did, but if not, that’s totally fine” kind of thing), and we spend the day hanging out or watching a movie and then finishing the day by going to a Chinese restaurant (which are usually open on Christmas day). And that’s it, Christmas is over! In some ways, I do love how simple it is for my family. It’s never stressful, and it’s one of the few days in a year when we simply drop everything and spend it together. It’s quite special.
So there you have it! Christmas and how it’s celebrated in my family. How do you guys celebrate it? (: