I remember being a child and going along to church around Christmas time. The preacher would always make a point to inform us that Christmas is not about presents. “No,” he would say, “it is about the birth of Christ and as Christians, we should celebrate that event with joy.” I get the impression that most kids are told something similar, whether it comes from a religious slant or not – that Christmas has a higher purpose than gifts. It’s about coming together, helping those left fortunate and generally being a good human being.
This year, my immediate family are putting that to the test. We aren’t giving each other Christmas gifts. Shock, horror! “You can’t mess with the present tradition!” I can almost hear my ten year old self shouting from the deep recesses of time past.
My mum and I talked about our present-less Christmas day. The question was asked: “What should we do to make this special?” My mind turned back to a memorable Christmas when I was ten or eleven. I vividly remember that at 11am, before the big Christmas lunch, my mum served us Asian nibblies. We had spring rolls, curry puffs and money bags with a thai curry sauce. They tasted amazingly good. I remember that the day felt incredibly significant because of that one meal. Christmas lunch was always special, but this added another layer of specialness on top!
After relaying this story to my mum, we decided to have an Asian feast on Christmas day. This year, we will have a HUGE Asian-inspired meal, shunning the traditional leg of ham for something decidedly different. If I can somehow relive that joy of that extra-special Christmas with the Asian nibblies, I’ll be satisfied, with or without gifts.