Keeping with the Traditions

by - Thursday, December 31, 2015

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It is the holiday season and while we are at the edge of the year 2015, merely less than 12 hours away from the New Year 2016, here I am still updating on my Christmas celebrations.

It has been a lovely month, though I have had my tastes of lying on the sick bed and then watching injuries popping all over my limbs (they always have to come when it's the festive season!) but I was determined not to let anything get into my way of enjoying the festivities.
It is after all, the best and most anticipated time of the year, for me, and I'm sure for everyone as well (almost, at least).

Last year I remembered falling sick on Christmas Eve and that bug lasted me until even Chinese New Year! It was determined to ruin my favorite time of the year; from Christmas to New Year to my birthday with its final wrath unleashed on Chinese New Year.
That pretty much summed up the festivities for the year, and took up my first quarter with dose after dose of medicines. It was only after the third batch of antibiotics that I finally won the battle.
Victorious? It didn't feel like it.

This year the bug came early.
Darn the bug, it seemed like it is always waiting for this time of the year for its visit, as though it is scheduled on annual maintenance.
I wished it would pick a different time of the year, or best, I could do very well without its presence.

It could have been the traveling, or the stress and the rushing around, but it seemed pretty harmless when it hit this year.
It is a different bug altogether, but it was just as insidious; creeping up on me with its innocent appearance which could be relieved with just a few dose of medicine, or so I thought.
Boy was I wrong.
The medicine did not help and I got worse.
From mild pains to breaking out all over in cold sweat which kept me up the whole night (yes, I didn't even get to sleep this time), I was going back and forth to the clinic and even changing my doctors.
From wrong prescriptions to light perception of the diagnosis, I was put on so many different medicines which seemed to grow in numbers incrementally with each visit that I was instantly weakened significantly.
I felt like I was consuming more medicine than actual food!

To make matters worse, it seemed as though the bugs were just running on the passing-the-baton mode; where one issue would pop up when the other disappear.
I finally regained myself a week before Christmas, which was really good, and after I decided to stop all medicines on my own will that I felt better.

It gave me enough time to do my Christmas shopping, hunting for gifts for my loved ones; an activity I enjoyed the most.

Running around shopping malls, serenaded by the melodious carols was truly a memorable experience, though I didn't quite enjoy the weight of the stuffs and reins of the bags latching onto my veins.

It is a little tradition I have created for myself when it comes to this time of the year.
Well, usually I would start my presents shopping way earlier, but travels and bugs just came in the way this year.


Christmas is all about traditions, besides the obvious reason for celebration.

Every family has their own traditions when it comes to festive celebrations, and so does mine.
I have been raised in a family who observe simple traditions and pretty much it kept us close and it is something that we have been following every single year.
We are a small family and though we have been kept apart by distance, due to living arrangements, it is the traditions which kept us together and close as a family.

There are times when we could drift apart, well, especially me, because of various reasons (I have not been the best daughter ever), but it is amazing how these traditions kept us drawn back to the very core of our hearts.

That, is the beauty of these traditions.

I guess it started from my grandparents and it just continued until this very day.

There is nothing complicated, but we always, always make it a point to celebrate together, as a family.

Yes, wherever we are, we never abandon this practice.
We could be traveling for work, but we would still make it home to be with the family, especially when it comes to Christmas and Easter.
(Chinese New Year too, though I would have to celebrate with the in-laws these days, so it is all about the arrangements)

We would rarely, or never, plan for any travel during these important festive seasons simply for this reason.

The family always comes together, simple as that and it is this simple concept which kept us rooted to our very own traditions.

Though there were change of plans, I was glad to be home for Christmas again this year.
To be with my loved ones and to the warmth of the flickering lights on the humble petite Christmas tree, which is also slowly showing the signs of age, but it is still a symbol close to home.

I have seen so many beautiful Christmas trees everywhere, but somehow, nothing beats the one at home.

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It must be the feeling of home that makes the whole tree different.


Christmas Eve is usually the day we catch up; enjoying banter while bustling about with the preparations. 
(Well, usually my good brother would have set up the beautiful tree by then, no matter how busy he is. It is the tradition and he does an amazing job every single time).

Final touch ups would usually be about placing the presents beneath the tree.
For some reason, the sight of presents all wrapped up in boxes and wrappers still excite me and I think it will continue to, even when I am an old grandmother.
(I must be that Penny Pan - my made-up girl version of Peter Pan; of the kid who never wants to grow up)

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While our Western counterparts get brand new trees every year, we will have to do with these mock ups since we don't really have these trees in our region, or at least, not in abundance.

Dinner on Christmas Eve is all about simplicity and just getting together.

It is after dinner that we start to get dressed up for our much anticipated Christmas Eve mass, which would last up to midnight.

I always loved this particular part and frankly, it is the most important part, personally to me, about the entire festival.
My brother and me always enjoyed getting dressed up and being ready for the mass.
It is only Christmas and Easter that we get to attend midnight masses and it is definitely the most exciting part especially when we were kids.
Funny how things like these stick with us even as grown ups.

We even love sitting down to the Christmas movies playing on the television on the Eve, and sometimes we even lament the good movies which would always be aired as we were about to head out.
Those were the days before we had streaming movie channels, but they were just fashionably good, even if they are old-fashioned.

It is amazing that until today, I still feel as excited going to Christmas Eve mass, and we now get to spread the cheer and happiness with our respective spouses.

Well, it is a different church now, but the feeling is just the same.

The best part about Christmas is the midnight mass.
From the Christmas carols to the prayers and then the first exchanges of greetings with fellow church parishioners, to these days, even text messages popping up on our phone screens all the way past midnight.

Those are my favorite moments of the festive season.

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While the mass is all about the observances of the religious traditions, it is truly beautiful and touching to the heart to relive the many reasons of celebration, and always invoked the thoughts of gratitude in me.
I like my personal quiet moments way after the mass has ended.
I am always for solitary moments.

After the mass is when more family traditions follow.

You would think that we would head straight to bed after Mass since it is way past midnight, but no, we would stay up chatting and even indulge in a little festive spread.
Yes, eating after midnight and before bed?
That is not part of our tradition.

Pop the sparkling juices or bubbly and cut the cake, while engaging in family portrait sessions and even squealing over the opening of presents.

These are all our family traditions.



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This year was a truly beautiful celebration; even down to the little cake which fitted right into the family tradition, wonderfully baked to perfection by my beautiful sister-in-law who is just the loveliest baker.

She has perfected the traditional cake we used to have for Christmas and even festive seasons; and the best part is, she has made it even better than the one we used to buy from our favorite bakery.

A homemade Christmas cake, baked fully with love, what could be a better and personal touch to the Christmas celebration?

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But most of all, it is the traditions which made up the beauty of the overall festivities.

Nothing beats tradition, especially when it comes to family time.
It is all about being with the family.

As my Dad always says, "A Family which eats together, always stays together"
(Words of wisdom from my beloved late grandmother)

Keeping the traditions and being with the family.
That, is truly what makes any festival or celebration even more beautiful and heart-warming.

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This is one of my most personal posts, but there will be more to come.
I just wanted to share on the beautiful moments from my recent celebration.
I hope everyone had a great celebration and also enjoyed the holiday season!

As you are reading this, you're probably on your way to celebrate the New Year 2016!

I'm looking forward to starting the year with better posts and connecting with the people who matter most in my life, and that includes everyone reading my blog as well.
I apologize if I have ever offended anyone in the process.

To a great year 2016 and may everyone enjoy great successes and happiness!



*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.





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