For a student, the holidays mean a good two-week break from school, away from the books, keeping tabs of any party that they are glad to go to. After all, they have been working hard for a semester and has spent days to study for their exams.
For a parent (or parents) who have a child (or children), this season is another reason to be like Santa Claus and fill their kids' socks with gifts and delights by the fireplace.
For a child who believes in the man of the season, they become good boys and girls and wait for Santa to come up to their roof, jump down the chimney and check the list whether they have been good or bad this year. Not only that, the holidays meant that they would receive many gifts from people, jolly carols they hear on the radio or everywhere they go, and costume parties. The food, not that much. They're not really picky on those anyway. Gifts are much more important.
For most people, it is time for reunions and family gatherings. To celebrate the holidays with cheer and laughter as they munch on the hearty dinner.
However, not everyone celebrates this way.
We must remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas in a religious, cultural or sociological way.
Being young, I used to think that everyone around the world celebrates Christmas, the best time of the year where I get to visit my godparents, waiting for their monetary gift. And yes, I only visit them once a year for this reason. Call it tradition, culture, or a nonsensical norm, but this was how I was taught. This was how the society was taught. But one should realize though that once you get older, you can't ask money from them anymore. And also, don't expect that when you visit your godparents, they have money to give to you, for they may or may not be at home. And it is not only from your godparents that you can ask money; a child can ask from the parents, aunts and uncles, or even neighbours whom one has known since childhood. Or a family friend that you rarely see in your lifetime.
To not be digressed, this was how I celebrated Christmas day. Waking up at dawn to visit my relatives for their gifts, and counting them up at noon and having a contest to see which one received the highest. Tch. It is kind of stupid, if you think about it, because not everyone can give you what you expect. But of course, children don't realize this, for they are too young to understand how hard it is to earn money. Unless your family is rich.
Some children though celebrate this season by working until the wee hours of the morning, only to save enough money to buy food for their little siblings as their Christmas dinner. They sing carols on the street, and some people give them money if the audience are nice enough or if they have the money to give. These children think of different ways to earn money quickly, just something to fill their empty tummies by the end of the day and worry about tomorrow's food the next day.
Some people celebrate Christmas in a camp, hearing noises of the bombs around them or writing a letter to their loved one. Or they may also be in a camp, but in a different atmosphere where everyone of you in the room are homeless and have nowhere to go but to stay in that place because your handmade home was destroyed by a natural disaster.
And this is why this season will always be different from each and everyone of us.
It's not how many varieties of food your household serves to the guests, but to be grateful for having food on your table to serve to the guests and your stomach. It's not how much money you earned from asking everyone you know, but by asking them blessings and giving them one in return. It's not how many material gifts you received and will be expecting, but the persons who sincerely put their time and effort in giving you something that you would be thankful for. It's not how many good deeds you have done this year to be acknowledged by Santa, but just the act of helping someone who is in need willingly. It's not the places that your family will go on a vacation, but the fact that you are given the chance to spend time with your family even for one day.
Celebrating Christmas has always been different with each and everyone of us, but hopefully we will always be thankful and happy not just this season, but for the rest of our lives. If only it could be this easy.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.