Presence & Presents
My family hasn’t been very much into Christmas for the past couple of years. Also, there’s really only members of my direct family (parents, and my brother Brandon) who are really around. All my aunts, uncles and cousins live overseas in Indonesia, except for one of my aunts in Sydney. We don’t really keep in touch.
Growing up, I had never really been around my extended family. My grandparents passed away when I was young or before I was born. I have visited Indonesia a couple of times over Christmas, but we didn’t get completely into meals or gift-giving. It was more casual and we just enjoyed being in each other’s presence.
I’ve never really known what it’s like to have an eventful Christmas with the family. Every time someone has a Christmas party, I am not sure what to expect. I’ve experienced work Christmas parties from three different companies. All of them were different but involved drinking, and in two cases, loud music. I couldn’t quite get into that.
At my first full-time job, for a small company, we left work early and went out with the other people in our shared space and had lunch by the beach. We had a good chat about everything except for work, and that was nice.
The year after, I worked for a company that held regular parties. I was used to their parties by the time Christmas rolled around. The party itself was boring, and a disappointment.
Our work Christmas party was last Friday, and it began at lunch time. Our chefs cooked us a huge lunch, and the tables were decked out with beautiful Christmas decor. Paper snowflakes and lanterns adorned the ceiling as the many of us in Sydney wished we got snow this time of year. Many people dressed up in red and green or wore dorky Christmas sweaters. I had lunch with people I didn’t normally have lunch with and it was nice being able to have a friendly conversation with them.
At around six, I met up with Nick and we went to his work Christmas party, which was at a bar in the Sydney tower. I realised that despite being somewhat reluctant to go, I was happy to catch up with my old friends.
On the weekend I spent time with some of Nick’s family. It was nice because I never really experience that with my own family. At the same time it’s almost strange to be welcomed into someone else’s family who celebrates Christmas a lot more than yours. It’s by no means a bad thing, but I think it has helped me appreciate the festive season a little bit more.
I got over presents a while ago, and in my family, we just asked each other what we wanted, or prodded each other if there was something we wanted in the lead-up to Christmas. It’s difficult to buy presents for each other and I think we can all admit we are rather picky, so rather than buy something someone else dislikes, we acknowledge the Christmas season without gifts.
I participated in a Secret Santa at work (and I remember participating in them at The Fanlistings Network a couple of times, though not this year) and I ended up getting someone who was in my team, so I knew perfectly well what he liked. I bought him a range of his favourite types of candy (cola bottles, gummy bears and sour candies) and I think he was pretty thrilled. He could guess that it was someone from our team because only we would know what his favourite candies are!
For the past few years I have spent time creating Christmas cards and not expecting an exchange, instead enjoying creating the cards and writing messages in them. I love writing Christmas cards – they are like my one true excuse to be super cheesy and thank someone for being an amazing friend or an amazing part of my life.
I enjoy finding gifts for the people in my life, and I feel very happy if I come across something I know they will love. It’s a good feeling to get someone something that will put a smile on their face, a feeling that is far better than the feeling one gets when opening their own presents.