Merry Christmas and A Very Happy New Year 2014
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all, my family, friends and especially my loyal readers, a Very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year. It has been a while since my last post. Somehow life has a way of keeping you busy especially during Christmas. Christmas is another reason to get in touch with those you have been meaning to contact.
The meaning of Christmas is so different to many people, especially those who come from far and wide and from all walks of life and beliefs. For Stephen and myself we know and acknowledge that one of the most important things in Christmas is Christ. Regardless of my own origins and my childhood beliefs I will always remember when Christmas was first introduced to me by Stephen and his family in Jersey, Channel Islands, UK. In this blog post I would like to tell the story of my past and my subsequent life in the West and how I came to know and celebrate Christmas!
I have celebrated Christmas in all kinds of weather and in many different countries since 1979 but my very first Christmas in the UK was wishing for a white snowy Christmas, an understandable hope as I had come from the tropics. The smell of Christmas was in the air with chimneys blowing wood fire smoke and the mood of people was filled with the Christmas spirit. The days got darker as 3pm approached and the chill in the air summoned the wintry nightfall and the shops stayed open for late night Christmas shopping in St. Helier’s shopping malls on King St and Queen St. All rugged up with boots and thick hooded coat I ventured out to freeze my nose. I loved the smell of satsumas and mandarins, nuts and fruits, roast lunches, freshly baked Christmas cake and homemade mince pies!
My first real Christmas was spent with my in-laws. I tasted my first Christmas turkey with all the stuffing and the cranberry, apple, and the mint sauce was first introduced to my palette. The smell in my mum-in-law’s kitchen with all sorts of aromas coming from the oven and the cook top was heavenly. When the table was spread out it looked like a feast fit for queen. After having tasted many varieties of roast in the one day and all of the other delicacies that go with a roast meal we then tucked into mum’s trifle, puddings and mince pies. Where does one fit all those delights on offer! A cheerful Christmas brought families together and Stephen’s eagerly awaiting uncle Morris would get picked up just for the occasion to come and celebrate with us. He was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and was often tested by other family members. Our conversation was varied and we didn’t leave the table until late in the afternoon. No one was ready to tuck in to dinner after having eaten so much during lunch but the left overs made a delightful meal for the next day and quite often the turkey got eaten in many different ways for days later. The next year I introduced my own culinary skills by helping my mum-in-law prepare the Christmas feast and introduced my very first lamb curry with coconut. After that our Christmas was never as traditional as when I had first met my in-laws and they embraced what I had to offer and that is how I remember my early Christmas celebrations! My own Cultural Interchange had started already…
After experiencing Christmas in the cold of the northern hemisphere Australian Christmases seem quite laid back in comparison. I remember not being able to put my oven on to cook a traditional roast in 40C temperature which was quite sad because I had become familiar with the traditional roast for Christmas. That was a long time ago now and today my Christmases are just as joyful as they were in the past but now food-wise: anything goes! My food pictures for this year will reveal that we have had a vegan/vegetarian Christmas this year and it has been just as wonderful as any other Christmas and just as delicious.
Christmas to me means many things one of which is being free to share the joy of freedom, the freedom to worship as we choose, the freedom to embrace others from all walks of life. I am lucky to have food, shelter, family, love, freedom and more. Christmas is a good time for families and friends to get together especially if you haven’t seen them for a while. The gifts that we give are simply a token of our affection and love for another person and to me it symbolizes that I have enough to share the joy of Christmas with somebody else.
At every Christmas I wish for peace on earth and within you. I wish for everyone to be content with what they have because there are many others who have too little. May there be love where there’s none and may there be plenty so that no one goes hungry. May there be warmth when you are cold and happiness when you are sad. May there be compassion, hope and mercy for those needing them.
This Christmas I wish you much joy and happiness and may you and your family be blessed with peace, good health and abundance of love to last you the whole year through.
Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New year! 🙂