Christmas is less than a week away. But I have to keep reminding myself of that.
There is no snow. It’s cool, but not cold. There is no holiday coming up. (In fact, I have to work Christmas Even and Christmas Day and the only reason I don’t have to work Boxing Day is that I don’t have any classes on Fridays.) In short there is no Christmas spirit.
We do have a tree and gifts. Except my wife thought our old tree was too much of a hassle — to hard to get out and put away and too difficult to put together — and so she went and bought two small trees instead.
But still, there’s no real feeling of Christmas. I have to keep reminding myself that Christmas is coming. It’s hard to get in a Christmas spirit when there’s no Christmas decorations everywhere like there is in Canada. It’s hard to think about Christmas when Christmas Day is just another work day.
But this is Taiwan. There is no Christmas here. (People in Canada may be shocked to hear that, but it’s true. Christmas is not a universal event.) So I’m not really complaining. I’ve gotten used to it.
No, my point with this is not to lament the lack of Christmas spirit or the loss of a holiday. No, my point with this is to explain something to my family and friends in Canada.
Maybe you have wondered why in the past — or this year — that I didn’t express any wishes or gifts or anything for Christmas. Were you expecting me to send a card or an e-mail; were you expecting me to call or wish you “merry Christmas” on Facebook? If or when I didn’t, were you disappointed? Were you wondering if I had forgotten about you? Were you upset with me?
Well, the simple truth is that I didn’t really forget about you. It’s just that with the lack of Christmas spirit and all the other stuff that goes along with Christmas in Canada, the idea of Christmas just slips my mind. Honestly. As I said, I have to keep reminding myself that Christmas is coming. By the time I realise that Christmas is coming it’s too late. By the time I think about possibly sending cards to people in Canada it’s too late to send them. Unless I wanted them to arrive sometime in January.
Consider this: We will likely start opening our gifts this weekend, the weekend before Christmas, and continue opening one or two on selected days going, quite possibly to the weekend after Christmas. A total break from tradition, I know, but what else can we do? On both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I have to work all day and my children have to go to school. After we wake up, eat breakfast, and get ready for school I won’t see them again late at night and when I do I’ll only have time to say “hi” to them before they have to go to bed. It’s a school night, after all. There’s no time on those days to open presents. So we do what we can and open them when we have the chance.
So even though we have a tree and we have presents (except for my wife because I never know what to get her — any ideas?) there is no real feeling of Christmas here. So it’s not that I’ve forgotten you over the Christmas season, it’s that I’ve forgotten Christmas.
But I can, right now at least, wish you a merry Christmas. (At least I think I can. From what I’ve been hearing, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say that anymore or not.)