“Perfect” in it’s own way

The Christmas songs played and played the weeks leading up to the day itself –

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!”  Well, it didn’t. It was in fact very mild even though Mummy had us wear our Christmas Jumpers.

I’ll be home for Christmas.”  Er, we were away in a hotel room out in the English  countryside.

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.There were quite a few open fires in the various lounges but no chestnuts were a-roastin’

Deck the halls with boughs of holly.” Thankfully at least the hotel was beautifully decked out.

These were some of the “ingredients” for a “prefect” Christmas, according to the songs, but nothing was quite stacking up.But it didn’t matter because the most important thing that really mattered – that we were together.

May’s comment:  Christmas 2016 came and went.

It is always such a build up to Christmas – so much expectations, people being so busy and bogged down with buying presents, decorating the home, gatherings with friends and family, food preparation.  Somewhere lurking at the back of my mind there’s always a wish to have the “perfect” Christmas – a vision, an idea no doubt influenced by the carols and all those movies. But I don’t think “perfect” has happened for me yet. So while still on the search, the festivities seemed to have come about all too quickly. I have hardly put away all those Christmas memories of 2015 and we’re at it again.

I love Christmas. I feel like a kid all over again. As much as I look forward to it, I equally dread what it will be. As my family is spread out on four continents – there’s no “home” to go to. But I have always been lucky with friends.  I don’t think there was ever a Christmas I had spent on my own, unless I had chosen to. For that I am thankful. And when Darcy entered my life, I finally had “someone” to start traditions with.

The first year (2011) I had Darcy, I took her to Düsseldorf –to spend the holiday with a family whom I have spent many a Christmasses with – my godson, Edgar and his sisters, Katja and Emily.

The following year, I told Darcy that we should always have Christmas at home – to start our own traditions. In the previous chapter of my life, Christmasses were always spent in some hotel in the hot tropics or exotic lands. We would get off our sun lounge, wash off the sun lotion and put on a pretty dress – to have Christmas lunch in an air-conditioned restaurant.  It always bothered me that turkey served at hotels were just too perfectly sliced and on the plate, there’s a dollop of mashed potatoes and another of stuffing with just a swirl of gravy.  I prefer to drown my turkey in dressing and pile on the stuffing. So I thought, now that I have someone to spend Christmas with, that we should spend it at home in London.  We shall have turkey the way we like it and we’ll have our Christmas mornings and presents to open followed by a walk in the park. But the following year, we were blessed to have not one but two guests to share Christmas with – Beate (Frankfurt) and Sylvia (Miami) were in London. Darcy was spoilt with piles of presents from her two aunties.

The next year, it was unexpected and simply magical as I “introduced” Christmas to a three-year old Sasha and his little sister, Skye.  It gave me an excuse to see Christmas through the eyes of a child.  This is us all in matching Christmas jumpers!New friends are made every year.  And by the following Christmas we had become three with George.  We spent a lovely Christmas Eve with Tammy and her friends and family.  George was relatively new to the civilised world – and he made a bit of a nuisance of himself! 

In 2014, new friends continued to play a role in our lives.Christmas Eve Candlelight service with Annie, Andrew and Stanley was magicalPraewa and Arsh had become fixtures in our daily lives and we opened presents together on Christmas morning.And treated to a most lovely Christmas Day lunch with Yaena and her family.

This year came along and I was still seeking the “perfect” Christmas. So instead of being at home again where “perfect” had not been found, I packed up and left the city – breaking what I thought would be our own tradition. Well, actually our tradition was never established.  Every year we had been doing something different since I made the decision to stay home.  So we went to The Cotswolds – at least it will be pretty and have a very traditional English Christmas.

The first evening after we had arrived, I was walking around the High Street in the evening admiring the pretty lights and wishing there was snow. That would be “perfect.”Really? Is that all it took. Well, no.  So the thoughts and more thoughts were circling my mind. What have I been looking for? What makes a perfect Christmas anyway?  Then maybe for the first time I realise I didn’t really know – the list was meaningless.  But I know this well, when you don’t have your own family to go to at Christmas time, you become the “person without anywhere to go to.”  So maybe my “perfect Christmas” is when I stop feeling that way.  It really isn’t about the snow nor if the halls are decked with boughs of holly, and it needn’t be at “home.”

Exchanging thoughts on the subject matter with a friend, she texted back – “make what happens perfect.”

Far from being at home for Christmas, walking around the Cotswolds in an open jacket because the weather has been unseasonably mild, and all presents were left at home as I wasn’t carrying anything more than I needed to with two dogs – I made the most of what Christmas 2016, a day on the calendar, had to offer.

And because of Darcy and (mostly) George, I met so many people who have decided to spend Christmas at the same place as us.  We had lovely conversations and we wished each other “Merry Christmas.” I like the sound of those words ringing out.

And so it was “perfect” for what it is.Me, Darcy and George being together in a lovely part of the world, surrounded by happy people – all taking time out of their daily routine to be with “friends and family” to be joyful.



  1. Elizabeth Burman

    Dear May, I empathise with you more than you know. Christmas always turns out to be a bit of an anti-climax really. We’re fed so much unrealistic rubbish by Hollywood and Christmas songs. You’re friend is very wise make what you (we) do perfect.

  2. Margaret Danks

    I agree with Elizabeth. We spend so much time trying to make the perfect Christmas that it all becomes an anti climax…unless you are a child waiting for Santa. The thought and anticipation of, is always better than the reality. There is so much pressure to spend time with ” family ” but for people like us May, where famly is spread far, this in itself is a huge pressure. This year, I am in Glasgow spending it with my lovely little family, but it meant leaving the husband to spend Christmas on his own due to work shifts. Guilt, guilt, guilt!! Christmas should be how you choose to make it May. I feel the melancholic tone of your words and I so get it, but that’s another story for another time. Your little family has 8 legs and waggy tails and give unconditional love. They might not know one day from another but they know you and they know love. Merry Christmas family Wong. Now… to face the New Year lol.

  3. Sian Widner

    I think your words ring true to most adults! I know I am always striving to create a “perfect” Christmas for my family as well. I will try to remember your friends words. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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