The Real Gift of Christmas
The season that nearly every single person on earth looks forward to has arrived again! Christmas has always, and still is my favorite occasion of the year. The beautiful and glamorous lights all over our tiny red dot, gigantic Christmas trees, a cozy lit up house with the warmth of your loved ones embracing you, and most importantly, remembering the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, these are just a few of the million things that indulges my love for Christmas every single year, without fail!
Personally, Christmas for me is so precious and dear to my heart because it is one of the best times of the entire year where family memories are created and bonds are pulled closer together. The Christmas tree symbolizes the strength of our family bond and the beauty of our relationships. It stands tall, shiny and wonderful at the center of our living room, beside the warmth and coziness of the light from our fireplace. It emphasizes the comfort and the happiness that one can only cherish in a place that one can call home. It really is simply amazing how holidays and special occasions can mold and connect a family so closely together! A strong family finds that opportunities for quality time emerge from quantity time: The more time you spend together, the better chance you have of sharing quality experiences. Eating meals together, talking about the events of the day, sharing joys and defeats, doing household chores together and spending some evenings stuffing ourselves with popcorn and watching movies are examples of memorable shared activities.
For my family, Christmas has always been treasured and proudly celebrated. One of the best ways we bond during this occasion would no doubt have to be FOOD (including normal, boring days). Everyone would dive in eagerly, including my teeny weeny siblings, and we would creatively and magically turn ordinary groceries into mouth-watering dishes from the all-time famous turkey to desserts that cause our poor tummies to bloat, and last but not least, the most hilarious part of the night— everyone frantically dashing for the toilets! Of course, not forgetting the precious moment where we gather around the tree and giggle together, exchange presents and carol Christmas hymns to the newborn King! Christmas is deemed as a celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ but what is most important is the remembrance not only of his birth but of his teachings of love, giving, sharing, and gratitude. By saying our graces and our thanks, it is imputable to be in a state of love, such that we are able to feel real joy not from materialistic things but from the spirit of sharing, giving and appreciating. How I wish that everyone can put at the center of their hearts the sharing of this light in wisdom and in action. Through love, we can make the world a happier place, and what greater opportunities to share this light other than Christmas time!
Honestly, whenever I hear or mention the word, “ family ”, I naturally feel so snug as a bug in a rug, warm and cherished all at once. Applying the word “family” into the Christmas context, everything feels phenomenal! Although my family isn’t perfect, I’ve noticed that it is always the dinky things that families do together that bonds them together. It is the little things that create memories. It is the little things that, 30 years later, one who looks back into the past will never forget.
Here are a few of my family favorite traditions on Christmas that we always look forward to:
- The Best Dish challenge
Cooking has always been a huge part of my family and we are all so thankful that our parents taught us the art of cooking from a very young age. On special occasions like Christmas, we siblings would always prepare the best dishes we could fish together and have our parents judge and reward the best cook! This activity had always gotten us all hyped up and it bonded us together in an unbelievable way!
- Exchanging presents game
Another of our family favorites would definitely have to be the presents game. Since we have quite a few family members and preparing nine gifts would be a tedious task, we came up with the idea of dumping all our names into a bag and everyone takes a turn to randomly pick a name from the bag. Whoever they picked, he/she will have to prepare a present for that person.
Last but not least, a perfect Christmas always has to be topped off with carols around the Christmas tree! One of the reasons Christmas carols bring such a sense of consolation and connection is surely their familiarity. Most of us have sung them since our primary school days. We pride ourselves on knowing the words. God has blessed my family with so many natural talents, from musical instruments, voices to even dancing!
Christmas time is indeed a wonderful time to truly appreciate life. It teaches us the joy of giving, which is such an important ingredient in life and in fact, those who are happiest are those who do the most of others (Booker T. Washington). It makes us realize which what truly matters and it gives us perception and a glimpse of how our hearts can truly feel love. Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive. The meaning of Christmas is being able to be thankful for our lives no matter what and being able to summon the overflowing love from our hearts and openly give it to our fellow men and extending it to all life on our planet. Spending time with family is a positive activity, which can be enhanced even further when woven with simple or complex family traditions. Perhaps it’s time we make some of our own family traditions and strengthen our family bonds in a world that has become increasingly disconnected, with the essence of family interaction becoming a lost art. Remember, it is never too late to forge your own memories to pass down from generation to generation, preserving the sense of lineage that is unique to each family’s namesake. Let us all make this Christmas a unique one! One that will always remain in our hearts down through the ages.
By Pollyanna Tang