Do they know it’s Christmas?

I’ve noticed recently that a number of my friends don’t actually celebrate Xmas. My own experience is admittedly blinkered because I grew up in a Christian family where the big Christmas celebration was pretty much a warmup for the big Chinese New Year celebration: too much food (Western and local — we went through a phase in the ’80s of having fish head curry at Christmas lunch), too many children running around and playing/fighting with each other, and absolutely having to shake hands and mouth seasonal greetings to every single last relative, on pain of being labelled as a rude child otherwise.

We still have these huge family gatherings, and it seems that a number of my friends do too, either on Xmas Eve or Xmas Day — depending on the extent of one’s family, if anyone’s feuding with anyone, and if there are different in-laws to schedule around.

But a number of people I’ve talked to this year have been like, “Oh, we don’t really celebrate Xmas, so it’s like any ordinary day for us.” They wake up, eat some food, poke around online or with the TV, call friends to see what they’re up to — and then Xmas is over. And I don’t think it necessarily depends on whether one is Christian. I know non-Christian families that “celebrate” Xmas with as much razzmatazz as Christians (or perhaps even more) because they seize the festive excuse for rounding up the family and tormenting bonding with them.

Perhaps, once a person’s hit the working world, it’s a little harder to avoid “celebrating” Xmas because there’s the inevitable office parties, mandatory gift exchanges, and so on — so one gets sucked into, if nothing else, the commercial lip service paid to the holiday. So everyone has some Xmas shopping to do, even if it’s for people they don’t like/care/know anything about, and Xmas food goes flying off the shelves because everyone needs to cater some sort of shindig at the office to make sure they fulfil their staff welfare quota for the year.

Wow, that sounded more cynical than I thought I felt.

At any rate, my point, inasmuch as I had one when I punched in this entry’s title, was that despite all the glitter of Orchard Road and what our wacky Tourism Board would have you believe, there are a lot of people in Singapore who don’t celebrate Xmas in any manner or form, and who will spend tomorrow with their families and friends much as they do any Saturday or Sunday — which is something I doubt you would find reported or reflected very much in the usual media stories on the holiday. And that is all.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get ready for an Xmas party…

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3 Comments so far

  1. f (unregistered) on December 25th, 2005 @ 12:15 am

    “Do they know it’s Christmas”? That’s the insensitive lyric from the Live 8 song!


  2. Dan (unregistered) on December 25th, 2005 @ 5:02 am

    I don’t celebrate xmas either. I just enjoy the time off of work. I think it is becuase I move around a lot and I am always away from my family. So I am used to it.


  3. Tym (unregistered) on December 26th, 2005 @ 10:30 am

    The song was originally released for Band Aid back in 1984, to nudge consumers to think about people in poor countries who didn’t have the wherewithal to enjoy life in the way that, say, people living in wealthy developed countries could.



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