Christmas is, hands down, my favorite holiday of the entire year. I have always loved it growing up and now that I am a mother, I love it even more. Creating traditions for our family has become a very important part of my life, and there is no better time to instill traditions than Christmas.
This year, I felt very fortunate to be spending Christmas with my whole family in Hong Kong. We wanted to steer clear of the overcrowded streets and ridiculously priced Christmas dinners, so we decided to lay low and had a potluck at my sister’s home on Christmas Eve. We had a blast! The kids danced to Christmas jingles with their grandparents while my sister, brother in law, and I cooked up a storm in the kitchen. My mom made her famous spaghetti with mushroom, and Alan contributed by buying a delicious cake for our dessert. There was no fancy set up, no expensive gifts…just a whole lot of warmth, love, and laughter. Simply perfect.
Two days before Christmas, we took the girls out to pick their Christmas gifts for grandma, grandpa, great grandma, and Lourdes (Brianne’s nanny). It turned out to be a really great learning experience for them! We gave them a budget for each gift, and they were instructed to discuss and decide on each gift together as a team. We wandered through the streets of Wan Chai, and the girls perused through shops and street vendors in search for the perfect gifts…
The whole process was really interesting to watch. The girls each had their own opinions on what to buy, and they had to spend some effort persuading the other to agree. After they reached an agreement, they needed to ask the salesperson for the price, and then determine if the price was within the budget that we gave them. If it was within budget, then they could proceed in making the purchase, but if not, they would need to look for something else. Through a few short hours of Christmas shopping, they learned about teamwork, decision making with others, compromising, and mathematics. What an excellent adventure for them! They even wrapped the gifts up themselves when they got home, together. Go teamwork!
We decided to open our Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve this year since we were together that evening. After our delicious home cooked dinner, we sat in a circle like kindergarteners and began excitedly opening the gifts under the little 6′ Christmas tree that the girls decked out. First gift to be opened? The one that the girls chose especially for grandma of course! In fact, it took every ounce of effort for them to resist telling grandma what the gift was throughout the day. 🙂
The minute my mom teared the wrapping paper open, everyone bursted into laughter, because this was what the girls chose for their beloved grandma….
Yes, after browsing through shop after shop during that shopping excursion, the girls had finally decided that grandma would love this long, braided wig! Mimi, Alan, and I had a hard time keeping our opinions to ourselves at the time, but we had promised to let the girls decide on their own, so we respected their decision. Seeing my mom’s expression when she opened the gift was the best part, and we all laughed until our tummies hurt. She told the girls how much she indeed loved the wig, and the girls were glowing with proudness!
For grandpa, the girls picked a bag of mixed nuts for him. Totally random, but it definitely made more sense than the pair of purple pants they originally wanted to get him.
Then, it was the girls’ turn to open their gifts, one by one. As they eagerly ripped through each item, wide-eyed, I couldn’t help but adore the innocence in them. I love the way their entire face just lights up, and the sparkle in their eyes as they submerge in all the loveliness in front of them. I only wish that as they grow older, they will also learn and understand the real meaning behind gift-giving…the thoughtfulness, the care, the appreciation.
Before the girls went to sleep on Christmas Eve, they remembered to put out cookies and milk for Santa. I urged them to leave extras for the reindeers as well, and they decided on a cranberry almond cookie for them. The next morning, Bridgette was the first to wake up and she made a beeline to the dining table to see if Santa had come. Within 30 seconds, she woke the rest of us up to share the exciting news that Santa enjoyed the cookies and milk left out for him, and he left two nicely wrapped gifts for her and Brianne!
We had lunch with my grandma on Christmas day at Festival Walk, and pushed her around in her wheelchair afterwards to admire all the beautiful Christmas decor. She had such a wonderful time that she refused to go home even though it was pretty obvious that she was exhausted by the afternoon…
In the evening, we met up with my sister and her family for a low-key Christmas dinner at Tai Ping Koon, an old landmark restaurant in Hong Kong.
Hope your Christmas was also filled with warmth and love!