Christmas is my favourite time of the year. As a young girl, I remember tying my white stockings to the edge of the bed and waking up with them filled to the brim with chocolates. I remember going to the movies with my family followed by a hearty lunch at some mall, and maybe some shopping too. In spite my missionary school upbringing, I had bought into this dire capitalistic notion of Christmas, where my personal happiness was inevitably linked to how much was being spent to attain it. It was a given that I’d always have my friends and family around.
And then I grew up.
I have moved cities four times in the last seven years. Not every year did I have the good fortune of having my near and dear ones around to celebrate the last week of the year. It wasn’t easy, initially. I would have my own soppy Bridget Jones-esque moments, karaoking to Celine Dion’s ‘All By Myself’ in my jammies, with a warm cuppa tea as my only accomplice.
But these experiences have also made me contemplate and look back on the year with a certain fondness which would perhaps be impossible with a cacophony of people around me. I have also developed a tradition - of religiously watching Love Actually, ordering in a box of sweet treats (last year it was doughnuts) and treating myself to the good life.
I have danced around my room to the tunes of ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ and ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ while undertaking a colossal cleaning spree at the same time. In 2015, when I was in the UK for my masters, I waited tables on Christmas eve and seeing happy families together made me deeply miss my own. Yet, I smiled and took it all in with a reminder to call them as soon as I got out of work.
What I have realized is, sometimes we take our loved ones for granted. Along with our little traditions and habits which sum up the festive season for us. Spending that time on your own make you guard those rituals like your life depended on it. It reaffirms the importance of love and belonging in our lives. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
And if you are spending the holiday season on your own this year, here’s a quote from my favourite Christmas movie that’ll keep you afloat.
"If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love is all around."