Do you celebrate Christmas?……unknown dude in my local Sainsbury
As a wee lad I have very clear memories of Christmas….well I do remember the pile of presents waiting under the tree. Having to wait almost until the end to open them, while all 40 of my elder cousins preceded to rip their wrapping apart.
Christmas in our household was always the convergence of three families, lots of food, watching the queen’s speech, followed by adults snoring while we tried out our new toys. All our families met regularly throughout the year so the Christmas meet was never really anything different – apart from masses of food and presents.
In recent years, those get-togethers have taken a different form in terms of audience, but through the power of social media it’s nice to see everyone is still enjoying the festive occasion. I am thinking, and hoping this is along the correct lines, that our parents stressed the importance of Christmas and it’s traditions; because they felt obliged to do so living in the UK, and secondly to ensure we never felt out of place when going back to school and being part of those playground conversations.
Lately I have realised there have been some questions raised from within the community about people of ethnic faiths focusing too much on Christmas and not enough on their own festive events. I have to admit that I too started to question my own focus, left wondering whether I was pushing back the importance of my festive occasions. But, I soon understood that any festive occasion needs to be appreciated in it’s own merit. Christmas day is the only occasion I know where a majority of businesses are shut, no one (apart from a small segment of Asians) is working, therefore forcing the public to stay at home and do something..together. As an Asian, I think this is a wonderful concept, take away the food prep and serving, because let’s face it, you can serve up anything on Christmas day.
I put out a tweet a few days ago, asking followers to spare a thought for those who on Christmas day couldn’t be with family and friends. I very much enjoyed our festive day, because we were together, we were in the mindset to organise our day which included food, games, TV (which was disappointing this year), a little snooze and re-use of food.
I would guess spending Christmas day on your own couldn’t be that good, and unless circumstances outside my control would force my hand, I will continue to ensure these festive occasions stress the importance of switching off and spending quality time with the family. Asian families have always been known for their strong family bonds, so use Christmas as the ideal occasion to create more lovely memories. Just as members of other faiths join in celebrations with the Sikh community on occasions like Vaisakhi, lets also continue to do the same and never feel that we are pushing back on our own values.