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Christmas Christmas everywhere…
Although Christmas is basically a holiday for Christians, It doesn't belong to Christian only. It has been a global holiday for most people. Therefore, when you find Christmas decoration in the shopping centers or malls, it is not a religious holiday anymore. It tends to be a secular or tradition for everyone. Even in non Christian countries with few Christians, Christmas is still available. Christmas songs, Santa with reindeers decoration, Christmas trees, and Christmas wreath have made the holiday theme more immersed. In Indonesia, the smell of Christmas in the mall can be felt since the early of December. Although Christmas is celebrated almost the end of December, I found the US people have put down their fall, halloween, and thanksgiving decoration at the same time. That is the reality that we can see in public places.
Every family in every country has different Christmas tradition, especially for Christian who celebrates. Anyway, from those traditions we can see, I can classify them into two different celebrations; secular or physical Christmas and religious or spiritual Christmas. There is also the third one which is the combination of both of them.
It is difficult to separate them by looking at their physic. Having beautifully Christmas decorated house or singing Christmas carol is not always spiritually prepared. On the other hand, well spiritually prepared Christmas celebration doesn't always look georgous. A well balanced Christmas will be the ideal one. However, it is difficult to have the real balance one as people usually tend to either one of them..
In the middle of the secular world, our family try to have a simple celebration at home. We are not a Christmas fanatic. We don't do a luxurious decoration for christmas. We are a Catholic family living in a tropical country. Christmas here might be different with yours. Here are some few Christmas tradition we do and we don't do.ol>
- We have some Christmas gifts for kids and our spouse. As we don't have any thanksgiving celebration, Christmas is our giving celebration. Giving others is also an action of being thankful. We are very happy to see happy and surprised people getting some gift. However, it is not a “have to” tradition, but it is a “want to”.
- We don't have any Christmas party or dinner, but we always have one for new year. Christmas needs more spiritual preparation and action rather than physical show off. Jesus Christ was born in a poor condition, so isn't it bothering when people celebrate Christmas in luxury?
- We have a Christmas tree which is only 6 years old. It lost its stand stool, so we put it in a pot with some sand inside. It is not a real tree, but the plastic one. We didn't want to put it up actually because it will give us another work to do, but we just put it up thinking that kids will love it with some sparkling light. They like singing Christmas carols around the tree. It is just a tradition. Putting on ornaments is another moment that we love.
- We don't have fireplace as we live in the tropical country. We just hang the Christmas stockings for decoration. We put some Santas and sheep doll in the stockings.
- We don't have any Christmas wreath as it is very expensive. Actually we don't understand at all why Christmas has such kind of decoration. We just follow along tradition.
- We don't send any Christmas card at all since people send Christmas wishes and greetings through text message such as whats apps, blackberry messengers, sms, etc. Christmas cards are rarely sold here. I remember when I was a kid. Everyone will buy a pail of Christmas cards and we competed who got the most Christmas cards. Whenever there was a postman coming we ran to the fence to welcome the cards. There isn't any moment like that anymore.
- We don't go to the night mass yet thinking that kids will get sleepy in the mass. I hope this year we can go to the night mass. The atmosphere is usually different.
- We don't have snow here, but we have rain. So just forget the warm accessories. However, I wonder why the Santa costume here has thick clothes or jacket and some nativity caves have snow on it. Santa costume should be diferent here. Is that right?
- Talking about Santa, there is some Santa with Black Pete tradition for some Christian kids here. For those who school in a Christian school, there is usually an event with Santa and Pete who give kids presents (which are actually from parents). Most small kids are scared with the white beard Santa and dark skinned Pete. When I was in Kindergarten, I wrote a letter to Santa on 4 December and put some grass inside my shoes before put them on the floor under the bed. The next day, Santa would reply my letter and return some gifts.
- We often receive some Christmas parcels from relatives and business colleagues with some “other purposes” behind. They can be cakes, pudding, chinaware, ice cream cake, fruit, etc. I cannot say whether it is good or bad, but we usually receive them without further thinking.
Those are some tradition in our Catholic Indonesian family. We think about Christmas as two different way, physical and spiritual. We do the Christmas tradition without loosing our respect to other people with different religions. We don't always do all the normal Christmas tradition with burden, but we try to adjust it with our ability as the most important thing for us the spirit of Christmas itself, not the physical appearance. We don't swap presents every year. Our Christmas tree once was tiny.
Do you celebrate Christmas?
How do you think about Christmas celebration?
If you celebrate Christmas, what is the most unique tradition during Christmas celebration?