This morning, I heard the first Christmas carol of the year on air. Last night at Raffles City, I saw that the decorations are already up. Usually by now, Third Aunt would have circulated the Christmas Eve Party menu list but she is late this year as she had to travel to Japan for work a week ago. She is the one that does most of the cooking on Christmas, including roasting a 4kg turkey. The rest of us either contribute money, cook a small dish and simply just turn up. Sometimes, we had outside guests joining in. For a few years, our German-in-laws were in town to celebrate together. One year, mom had an old friend who visited.
When I saw her last week, she mentioned Christmas dinner. I alerted her that Granny had forewarned me that she would not be attending this year. Gran claims that she is in ‘discomfort’ and can’t attend. I think she does not want to miss her episode of Taiwanese drama ‘Ai’ more than anything.
Last night, Third Aunt called to tell me that First and Second Aunt have both indicated that they would not be attending, as they have their own programs this year. Third Aunt sounded very disappointed, as if the Christmas Eve family gathering amounts to nothing for her sisters. Then, her voice turning brighter, she told me we’ll go ahead, expectantly waiting for me to also refuse. I told her I’m fine. We’ll just go ahead ourselves between my family, Third Aunt and Fourth Aunt’s family, and we’ll gather at Gran’s house. If Gran can’t go to the party, the party shall go to her. So she’ll have to miss watching ‘Ai’ after all. (Hahaha!!)
So this year, the Christmas Eve party, traditionally held at my mother’s house for more than two decades will be different somewhat. I remember how it all started. A small party celebrated by the same 3rd and 4th Aunts in the early 1980s, who were single then, and their two nieces – my sister and I. They had even bought BabyChamp to drink and toast. We had fun singing and drinking the bubbly drink and staying up late.
Gradually as the other aunts had kids, they too joined the party and the tradition grew from there.
Well, the kids are all grown and I guess they would much prefer their own parties than one with extended families. I say, too bad for them for not seeing the value of aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews.
I’m not a Christian but I cherish all of it – the Amazing Grace Roast Turkey, the experimental desserts and appetizers Aunt E brings, the tree, the presents, Mike’s alcoholic concoctions, and the spirit behind all the planning that my two aunts put their effort in. That really is what makes Christmas all about for me.