In between a Tropical Christmas and a Wintry Christmas

by giselletellstales

If you are experiencing a wintry Christmas this year (and always have), and possess what I like to call “Grass is Greener on the Other Side” syndrome, chances are you’re wondering what Christmas is like, being somewhere hot like South East Asia, the Caribbean, Hawaii – especially when you hear a song like Mele Kalikimaka (Bette Midler or Bing Crosby version – take your pick) being played on the radio. On this subject and in recent weeks, Simon Mayo’s Drivetime show on BBC Radio 2 at 17:05 (during weekdays) has been featuring interviews with people based in hot countries to describe what Christmas is like on the warmer side of the globe (mostly, they gloat about spending Christmas day surfing or setting up a tree on the warm sand) and it’s refreshing to learn what people get up to, experiencing a tropical Christmas (not to mention my need to feature a Christmas-flavoured post!)

Now if you’re geared up for a tropical one this year, I know you secretly would love to experience snow on the day and discover a white Christmas, build a snowman and warm up beside the fire with mugs of eggnog or mulled wine afterwards. The reality of it is, you will have to put on plenty of layers if you’re going to play about in the snow and wear chunky (ugly) footwear like snow boots, and heavy woolly accessories like a hat, a pair of gloves, scarf and ear muffs if you’re fussy.  You could always turn up the air conditioner and take out a cashmere cardigan you own to conjure the spirit of a wintry Christmas as best as you can.

Having grown up experiencing 2 continents – Asia and Europe – I enjoyed both versions of the holidays. It is more or less the same, laced with your own family or cultural traditions, hoards of shoppers at the shopping malls and bumper-to-bumper traffic, Christmas tunes on the radio, plenty of food, gatherings of family and friends. In the Philippines, decorating your house with lights and the Filipino lantern called a parol is the norm. For me, it feels more festive in hot countries with all the brightness (sunshine and lights) and because people mostly celebrate outdoors. On the other side of the coin, I quite like winter and the comfort of warmth is bliss: situating myself next to the radiator with the cat, entering a warm building from the cold, a bed warmed up by an electric blanket. Snow and its whiteness offers so much light.

Have a beautiful Christmas. May you have a warm and merry celebration this season.

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