Christmas this year was as cold as it could be. Taiwanese people don't really celebrate it, and it's really just an excuse to party. There's no real Christmasy/homey/lovely feeling; perhaps a tree here and there and people saying Merry Christmas for the sake of being fashionable. It's quite different from what we grew up with in the US.
My brothers and I served our parents and their 20+ guests at the house. The guests were my mother's classmates from the Lee Teng-hui school. My parents felt it was appropriate to play I-love-Taiwan songs, and left the Democratic Progressive Party's campaign soundtrack on repeat mode. In the back of the room was a picture of my father with Chen Shui-bian. I've never been to a political social gathering, but perhaps this might be something like it? I don't know what they were talking about. We were too busy serving.
In Taiwan, there are no fresh pine trees to chop down and tie to the roof of the family car to bring home, so Daniel bought a small and cool-looking tree made of stainless steel. So there was a tree, some Christmas cards and a fire crackling in the fire place. But somehow, it did not feel like Christmas at all. Maybe it's just me. Christmas used to be my favorite favorite FAVORITE holiday, but I wasn't even looking forward to this one to begin with. In fact, I didn't even want it to come. I didn't know what we were going to celebrate. It's difficult to feel festive when no one else does. Things now are quite different from the days when our parents would flip out if we weren't home for Christmas.
After all the guests left and the poor CD was given a rest, my brothers and I handed presents to our parents (one already went to bed and the other just about forgot). Then us kids, including Lydia, did our own present exchange/opening in our area of the house right around midnight. We made a huge mess of wrapping paper and ribbons, but it felt good, and like Daniel says, "that's how it's supposed to be." Thank goodness Lydia's presents had lots of wrapping paper.
Aigh, I just want this year to hurry up and finish. Hopefully next year will bring more happiness and luck for the family and everyone else. We could all use it.