Unattached to Christmas Rituals: how and why this happens.
One thing I have noticed over the 18 years that I have been able to record memories, is how my family does not fully celebrate Christmas. There are several elements which lead to such a ‘vile and strange practice,’ (get that dark humor out of the way first); such as my parents growing up in Hong Kong, and never really been invited to partake in such rituals as Christmas tree decorating, large family dinners, and wrapping presents. In Hong Kong, much of the celebrations follow the Chinese calendar, and as such the big celebrations are Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn festival, and the Winter solstice. However with winter solstice, holidays are seldom taken; as evidence by the strange practice of Chinese – and specifically Chinese – Restaurants opening for business on Christmas day. There are some cultural differences which – to the uneducated observer – seem strange and out of place. This is the case, because when the British colonial government existed in Hong Kong, they stylishly blended Chinese practices with western practices. The end result was they made Christmas an observed holiday, rather than a statutory holiday.
These are perhaps the main points as to why I – Vincent – have little to no attachment to Christmas rituals. When I was younger, yes there was a family dinner: but it was a series of family dinners spread out over the month, rather than concentrated on a single day. When I was in my childhood, gifts were seldom wrapped, unless presented to outsiders. Even relatives simply received the item unwrapped, so they have one less hurdle to overcome when enjoying the present. All of my gifts were unwrapped; we never wrapped presents given to family members. There was no “wait until the 25th of December to open it my dear,” rather it was: “here you go, use it whenever you feel like using it.” There was no taboo of: “if you do not spend a day decorating a tree, wrapping presents, or cooking turkey; you will have violated the sacred Christmas spirit.” To oriental families – Hong Kong expats in particular – it was simply a day to rest. The exception would be of course restaurant owners, who will go out of their way to make that extra profit in order to boost their financial standing. Ultimately, it is not that Hong Kong expats dislike Christmas: for those who were able to adopt the tradition, enjoy it immensely. The reason why families like mine rarely celebrate Christmas in the conventional form, is because we are not used to it, nor were we ever told it was important or worth wile. Hong Kong expats therefore, are not attached, and devoted to such traditions as other families in developed countries. Christmas spirit never really penetrated the homes of the expat community: and that my friends, is why there is little to no ritualistic practices amongst the Hong Kong Chinese community when it comes to Christmas. My name has been Vincent, and I will see you next time.