One of the joys of being a mama is creating special family traditions around the holidays; it’s a great chance to reflect on what we loved most when we were kids. Below, our Sassy Media team in Singapore and Hong Kong shares some of their favourite holiday memories and traditions, collected from childhoods on 4+ continents!
Hester, Founder & Creative Director:
My favourite Christmas memory is helping my mum make the Christmas cake — she used to let me “help” weigh out all the ingredients and then stir the batter and tie brown paper around the cake tin before putting it in the oven. Unfortunately my whole family now hates fruitcake, so it seems a bit pointless to make one just to eat myself. Now I need to start a new tradition for my own family that doesn’t involve any kind of dried fruit!
Rika, Partnerships Director:
In the Netherlands we celebrate Christmas Eve with lots of presents and a huge dinner with the family. It could be a buffet with a “rijsttafel” which is a Dutch/Indonesian spread consisting of many (10-20 depending how many people are coming) dishes like satay and other Indonesian staples served in small portions, accompanied by rice. Or we do a very “old fashioned” gourmet evening with a smaller group, where you basically do raclette and grilling at the table.
Christmas Day is for the family in law, with more presents and food. On Boxing Day – known as “2nd Christmas Day” in the Netherlands – we just go out for a walk on the beach, go to the woods, and have some apple pie with whipped cream and a hot chocolate!
Dervla, Managing Editor:
Every year in Ireland, my best friends and I get together for a big Christmas dinner in Dublin before heading home to our families. We all live in different countries so the logistics can be tricky! Midnight mass on Christmas Eve, followed by a freezing walk on the beach Christmas morning, are two family traditions that I love.
Faz, Sassy Singapore Editor:
I never had a Christmas tradition until recently because I come from a Muslim family. These days, my fiancé and I head to his parents’ at Christmas and that means copious amounts of eating everything in sight, including sweet potato pies, collard greens, and my favourite – his mum’s homemade stuffing! I’m also the only person in the household who’s wishing for snow, and without fail every single year everybody’s like, “Look at the Singaporean wishing for snow. Wait till she has to shovel it!”
Vanessa, Editorial Assistant:
Every year, my family throws a huge bash on Christmas Eve with all our friends and family. There’s lots of mulled wine, bubbly, nibbles, full-on turkey dinner and it usually ends in a 3am Christmas carol singathon. Suffice it to say Christmas Day is a much more muted affair: presents first (bubbly in hand and PJs required), Christmas lunch (which I’m now responsible for cooking), settle in for some films and everyone makes up plates of leftovers or pick at sweets when the mood strikes. Boozy, comfy, cosy!
Emilie, Managing Director:
My favourite Christmas tradition growing up was to go to my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve. Everyone would arrive mid-afternoon and all the presents would have to be placed under the tree. Every family was in charge of a dish – my favourite were my aunts’ amuse-bouches. All the kids would usually be stuffed before we even started dinner! Then when everyone had arrived we would ask the youngest member of the family to pick a present under the tree and whoever’s present it was had to offer it. The best part was that somehow all the kids would get all their presents first, so we were set and could play for the rest of the evening while the adults dined and had [what we thought were] boring conversations!
Kristin, Partnerships Director:
As a child, Christmas Eve was always my favourite part of the Christmas season. During the day all of the neighbours worked together to line the neighbourhood streets with candle luminaries along the road to make a special landing strip for Santa’s sleigh. Each year we would write a letter to Santa asking if he could make an early stop at our house since we would be traveling early on Christmas morning. Our family would get all dressed up for Christmas Eve Mass, and upon returning from church the neighbourhood would be lit up by candle luminaries, usually snow on the ground, and when we burst in the door we would discover that Santa had in fact made it to our house early. It was truly magical! Another Christmas must is The Griswolds’ Christmas Vacation movie and reading Polar Express. I can still hear the bells!
Kate, Sassy Mama Singapore Editor:
Every Christmas Eve my parents and I would have a special lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, then afterwards we’d work it off with a walk around the Boston Common looking at Christmas decorations, or maybe get in a last bit of shopping on Newbury Street. For Christmas Eve dinner we’d have a simple meal of cheese fondue – perfect for the cold New England winter – while listening to the Boston Pops on the radio. To this day cheese fondue only feels right on Christmas Eve!
Wherever you’ll be this holiday season mamas, and whatever you’ll be doing, we wish you the happiest of holidays filled with warmth, laughter and lots of love. Clearly a good meal wouldn’t hurt, either!
Lead Image sourced via Pinterest, Image #1 sourced via Pinterest, Image #2 sourced via Flickr, Image #3 sourced via Pinterest