Holidays Away From “Home”

It is holiday time, one of my favorite times of the year.  My family is from the northeast of the USA so I am used to the seasonal changes.  In October, we would have made the trip up to my sister’s house in NY to pick apples and pumpkins, hike in the mountains and admire the fall foliage.  By now, the apple pies and homemade applesauce would be frozen and the corn from my grandparent’s farm put up!  The entire family including, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephew, siblings, and cousins would have headed up to the farm to spend Thanksgiving together.  We would have walked to the creeks, wandered through the plowed fields and quiet woods searching for deer and pheasants to admire, cut holly boughs to bring home, baked and cooked all the family’s favorite dishes, then eaten way too much food.  The air would have been crisp and clear, so sweaters and boots would have warmed us. Perhaps a fire might have been going in the fireplace. AAAHHHHH……


Reality check!  Thanksgiving weekend in Malaysia was 90 degrees F.  It was hot, hazy and humid. The air was not crisp, but laden with so much moisture that breathing was an unpleasant activity. We worked on Thanksgiving Day.  On Saturday, we went to the pool at the club and then hiked in the rainforest. But, on Sunday, we spent the day with thirty friends cooking, laughing and sharing a feast of all the traditional Thanksgiving Day meals.  Even though it was a far cry from a Pennsylvania farm Thanksgiving, it was a wonderful day spent with good company. Many of our friends commented that they look forward to this day all year. 


Now it is only a few days away from my ultimate favorite time of the year, Christmas!  I love everything about it. I have to watch every corny movie and cartoon, see carolers, bake cookies and decorate the house.  The first year we decided that we would be too depressed to spend Christmas away from our extended family so we ran away to Phuket, Thailand, hoping to ignore the Christmas holiday.  It was a horrible idea!  Just like in “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” I realized that Christmas comes any way!  All we needed were a few new traditions and some great new people to share it.  Now my family stays in our house until after Christmas Day now.  If we travel, we leave after the 25th.  We try to keep to some of the traditions we had in the USA, and we have added many new ones that make our holiday season special.  Today, we will hike with the dogs and then take a dip at the pool, finish our baking and sit down to watch some of the old Christmas classics that we bought on DVD and enjoy the day with each other.


How do you spend the holidays when you are away from “home” and family? 

It is a beautiful time of the year regardless of where you are.  Make the most of it and enjoy the festive season!  Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year!