Before I get to my last post on Cambodia, I wanted to reflect on our Christmas away from home since it is Christmas Eve here in Asia; well technically it’s Christmas morning as it’s after midnight.

Christmas at our house has always been a month long affair. Decorating the house. Putting up the lights. Sending out Christmas cards. Picking out just the right present for everyone. Planning the big lab holiday party. Cooking at least two feasts. Wrapping. Wrapping. Wrapping.

We weren’t sure what it was going to be like for us this year. Is Christmas celebrated in China? Where will we be for the holidays? Should we even bother with presents and the tree? And the most important question from the children, will Santa know where we are?

It turns out Christmas is everywhere in China. Every business and building displays Christmas decorations, including our apartment building where miraculously a garland appeared over the front door along with snowflakes and Santa cutouts.


Christmas trees and circus animals at a mall in Guangzhou


“Ice” castle, angels and reindeer in a plaza in Hong Kong


Admiring Christmas lights from the Star Ferry in Hong Kong.


And there’s even a white Christmas courtesy of Disneyland Hong Kong. Even Toronto doesn’t have that.

And despite my best effort to avoid it, we ended up hosting a holiday party at the urging of the children complete with craft making and cookie decorating. It was the first Christmas party for all of our guests and I think all had a great time.

So we couldn’t avoid the decorations and the party, we could at least avoid the presents and the tree right? Wrong.

Marc and I tried to convince the children how much fun it would be to spend Christmas on the beach somewhere but they were determined to stay put. I think all our travelling has them clinging on to the idea of home. They wanted the tree and a present or two (and Santa had to come visit of course!). We were finally able to lure them to Hong Kong with the promise of Star Wars The Force Awakens and a cat named Chairman Meow who resembles our beloved and much missed Spencer cat. The Chairman is our host at the fabulous Airbnb apartment we have been calling home this past week.


The Chairman. Doesn’t she look like our beloved Spencer cat?

Of course, we also acquired a little tree.


Our tiny tree

So now we are surrounded by Christmas decorations. Greetings of Merry Christmas and Christmas carols are everywhere. There’s a tree with presents underneath of it and I hear Santa will be stopping by. So how is our Christmas different from any other year?

Christmas is different from what is missing. Missing is the anxiety to get the holiday cards out in time. Missing is the need to find the perfect present. Missing is the exhaustion from getting everything done by Dec. 25th. Missing is the desperation to get everything just right so the kids have the perfect magical memory. I think I like what’s missing so much that I’m going to have to remember this next year. Remember when I slowed down. Remember when I chose simple over the overly involved. Remember when I said there’s no need. Remember when I’ve given my children perfect magical memories through our time together.

There is one thing that is missing though that I wish wasn’t. Our friends and family. We miss and love all of you. Happy holidays!


Happy holidays from us to all of you!







2 thoughts on “Christmas

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