Despite not being a Christian, Christmas has always been my favourite event each year. I don’t know if it’s just the superficial reason of getting to see really gaudy christmas decorations all over shopping malls, and neighbourhood GRCs’ desperate attempts to fit tinsel and fairy lights somewhere around void decks and park connectors… I just love Christmas.
Every year, my Dad insists on putting up the Christmas tree that my late Da Bo (First Paternal Uncle) bought many many years ago. My Uncle was diagnosed in his lates 20s or early 30s -if I’m not wrong- and died of cancer when he was barely in his mid 40s. He was a smart man, and studying came very easily to him. He received scholarships, got a stable job and bought a condominium apartment when I was about 4-5 years old.
In the beginning, we used the condominium as sort of a vacation house. When we wanted to go swimming or stay over for a getaway over the weekend we did.
I didn’t know where to put this in so I thought I would just clarify here. The reason we were so free to use the condominium was because Da Bo never had kids of his own, and never got married. He treated me and my siblings like his own children. From the moment I was born he started making plans for me, buying education insurance policies, and giving a bit of his assets to me and my siblings.
He probably never expected to get the chance to settle down with someone and have a couple of kids, post-cancer. I got my stubborness and negativity from my Dad, and I’m pretty sure my Uncle had that too. I asked my Dad if he’d ever had a girlfriend or anyone he brought home to Grandma before. He never did, or at least my Dad didn’t know of anyone at all. My siblings and I were lucky to have had a very attentively doting Uncle who quite willingly splurged on us.
The Christmas tree was probably bought for us as well. All children like pretty, shiny things, after all. My Father mentioned just the other day, when we were putting up the tree, “I still can’t understand why a foul tempered bachelor like your Uncle wanted to get a Christmas tree.” I didn’t say it, but I think it was because of us. He’s not the type to spend a few hundred dollars just because he felt like getting something pretty for himself.
Here it is^ 🙂
The reason why our tree looks so uncoordinated is because each year, we add on new decorations, but we never throw any out. Not even the broken ones, or the fake presents at the foot of the tree that are actually just blocks of styrofoam in wrapping paper. We never talked about why or why not, we just don’t think about throwing them out.
For Christmas dinner, I made Mash potatoes to go with the cold storage chicken we bought, and my Mum stir-fried KangKong with rice. So many calories. Da Bo would be happy if he knew how well I was eating😁. And he would flip if he knew how much weight I was gaining. My entire paternal family is obsessed about appearances (Frankly, I think this is because my paternal family doesn’t have good visuals in our genes) and he’s no exception. I think about things like that sometimes. He’s really given me a lot.
The Season of Giving. 🎄In some ways, Da Bo’s like the ghost of Christmas past to my family. He teaches us to remember when we had much less than we do now, to appreciate what we have and to hold on to memories that remind us to think of others.