Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wishing You A Blessed Christmas

What does Christmas mean to me? My family has never been religious. We are baptised Anglicans but my parents have never taken me to church. We each pray in our own way, privately, and the only time we arein church together is for weddings and funerals.

So, back to Christmas...

Christmas when I was young was about feasting, family and the freedom for me to decorate the house any way I wanted. Hahaha, I remember one year, I wrapped tinsel around all the drawer handles and no one could open them until after the decorations were taken down on the twelvth day. Another year, I decided I wanted icicles all over the house and I spent two weeks of my school holidays cutting white crepe paper into thin stripes and dangling them around every doorknob, shelf, railing and chair back I could find! Then there was the year that I discovered snow spray (let's not get into that!)

The other feature about Christmas is spaghetti bolognaise. Mom would make a huge potful, and I mean huge! We'd stir and stir it until our arm muscles bulged. The whole house would smell of oregano and basil and rich-beefy-tomatoey goodness ... mmm, heaven! Later, as I grew up and took over the cooking, I added creamy seafood pasta, garlic grilled prawns, and of course melted cheese was in everything.

Then there was the whole presents thing. I would procrastinate and leave it all to the last minute - then Panic! Frenzy! Rush! And somehow still find time to make all the wrappings 'themed' for the year. It used to take me hours and hours to get it all done, and the list would grow longer every year.

The last five years have been different though. Since the 2000 tragedy, none of us have felt like celebrating. No presents, no decorations, no karaoke wild parties that last til dawn. We would just keep oursleves cooking and cooking until we drop, too tired to think. My family would stick together tightly. We have every meal together, from Christmas Eve dinner to Christmas Day lunch and dinner and sometimes even on Boxing Day. Mostly trying to finish up the leftovers.

Then, this year, something changed. Reading 'The Secret' reminded me of the lessons I learnt from various masters. This year, I decided to focus on what I have instead of what's missing. And I decided to start coming out of my hole.

It helped that the guru besar was constantly pestering Peter and me to give him an X-box for Christmas!

We held a wonderful party at 95%. Chris and his Org Com came up with the best theme ever "Coming home for Christmas" and it was like a homecoming. The whole huge family of 95% graduates and closest trainers coming together to play and feast was lovely. Very heartwarming. Made me very happy.

I must say I enjoyed buying presents again - although my family still didn't give any to each other. I didn't dare break tradition. But my sis-in-law did. And this opens the way for us to do more next year.

So for me this Christmas is about change, an opportunity for me to re-focus on life and reset my priorities. Mom will definitely be a top priority. And creating a comfortable, inspiring home. All this has taken a back seat for the past two years, and it's time for me to put my heart here now.

And I would like to start painting again ...


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