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A Cosmopolitan Christmas

First of all Happy Christmas from all of us at NMSG!

Part of the beauty of living in Singapore is that it is such a cosmopolitan country, surrounded by beautiful families, cultures and traditions from all over the world. One of Singapore’s greatest attributes is it’s approach to embracing and celebrating our diverse community.

Many of you have shared that they will finally be able to return home to see their families now that the borders are slowly opening up, others have family visiting us here in Singapore and are excited to show off the Singapore sights, and others are staying home on our little red dot to celebrate with friends and family,excited to finally be able to socialise and eat out in groups of 5.

No matter where in the world you are, or who you are with, we all have our personal traditions we like to uphold to make each Christmas special and memorable. On that note, we wanted to reach out to our cosmopolitan community and discover what Christmas means to you and how you celebrate and share what family traditions you have.

Francie -

Christmas to me is as much the lead up as the day itself. Catching up with friends, finishing up the end of year jobs and enjoying festive activities. My favourite things to do include seeing the lights on a walk through London, festive Mulled wine, European Christmas fairs, embracing family on a return home, arriving at our summary holiday home in Rotoiti with a boot load of food and gifts. Then on the day, a delicious brunch with family in New Zealand or a once a year dinner in Ireland (complete with trifle), and what has now become normal, a catch up with those in other parts of the world. Christmas for me is holding those far away close in our hearts whatever the itself looks like.

Our family traditions involve advent calendars, decorations and presents. Usually a Mass. Lots of food and always a spare seat for a stranger or lost friend. This has reminded me to find some special traditions to share with my children. I'm hoping to build a tree ornament collection and find some baking recipes that can become traditions in our house.

Kate -

We are an American Polish family in Singapore. One of our family traditions is making and eating Polish pierogies from scratch to celebrate our Polish heritage. This has been an enjoyable holiday tradition where the family can come together. The recipe started several generations ago and takes the form today, as a Christmas Eve dinner.

This year, instead of popping down to the local Polish grocer which we did in Philadelphia, we scoured the internet to see what we could buy on Redmart/Amazon Fresh. The recipe involves a beetroot based borscht with small dumplings called uszka as a first course, followed by a main course of Polish handmade pierogi (Polish mushroom, sauerkraut and onion flavour). The recipe is 5 generations old and this year, the newest generation will get to taste it for the first time!

Katherine -

For me Christmas is all about seeing family and friends. We usually travel to the U.K. and stay with my parents or in-laws. Living so far away in Singapore has made Christmas an extra special time of year, one of the only occasions we can see all of our family. We all love food and our Christmas menu planning starts months ahead!

Our Christmas tradition is to always start Christmas morning with a glass of Champagne and freshly baked Madeleines. And this year I’m starting a new tradition of an advent calendar for my daughters, which I fill up with little gifts throughout December.

Hannah -

Living so far away from family and many of our friends who have now left our little red dot, Christmas is the most important time of year for me; it is a chance to reconnect, bond and make memories that last a lifetime with all of our loved ones, and to pass on the magical traditions to the next generation. A time to press pause on work, schools and the general hustle and bustle, a time to take a breath and enjoy those around you. Our house is usually filled with food, in the lead up to Christmas especially, there are always homemade sausage rolls, cranberry brie & Rosemary mini tarts, Twiglets, Christmas cookies and Mulled Wine around!

We have a few family traditions in our home like the standard attending Christmas Mass in Church on Christmas Eve, Stockings and Turkey Christmas dinner. But we also have some quirkier ones too:

  • Christmas Eve box: The night before Christmas we open the Christmas Eve box which contains festive pyjamas, hot chocolate, a Christmas cookie, a decoration for the tree and the book “Twas a night before Christmas” - which is always read by Daddy or Grandpa just before bed.

  • The Tree Present: This was introduced to me by my in-laws, basically at the end of the day once all the presents have been given and opened, dinner has been eaten, and the sleepy lull sets in, there is a mystery gift for each person under the tree - from the tree! It is usually something small and fun to keep the festivities going like a game, cd, or something fun.

Eva -

When I think of Chrismtas, as cliche as it may seem, it’s the white snow, beautiful Christmas Markets, mulled wine and the feeling of that cold, and the crisp winter morning air when it hits my nose. Especially since I’ve spent each Christmas in Romania or Switzerland for almost two decades now. One of my favourite things to do, was to go buy the Christmas tree with my in-laws, the scent of the pine leaves always lifts my spirits up! Afterwards we would then head home and be welcomed with the smell of mulled wine at the door. It is so comforting and warm to have that after being out there in the cold!

Christmas is about being there with my extended family, and enjoying the simple moments with them is the tradition for me; setting the dinner table, visiting the Christmas markets (and having the curry wurst and sauerkraut), wrapping the gifts for the children secretly, helping with the baking and enjoying the surprise carolling from the neighbourhood children. I guess Christmas is a sensory emotion for me - with the five senses all coming together to create this magical feeling, and I’m very grateful to be so blessed with so many happy memories built up over the years. Some new traditions that I’ve started with my son since I became a Mum, is to write a letter together to Santa, doing an Advent Calendar and also saying what we are thankful for at the end of Christmas Day as a way to remind ourselves to be grateful for what we have.

Siska -

We’re a mixed family and so have a mix of traditions that we celebrate in our home - truly Cosmopolitan! Our kids love the festive period and all things Christmas which they enjoy at School and at home with family and friends.

Our traditions include writing Santa a list of what presents they wish for, and getting together at the start of December to decorate the house and put up the Christmas tree. Our favourite tradition in Singapore is to take a walk down Orchard road and enjoy all the Christmas lights.

From all of us at NMSG committee, we would like to wish all our members a very merry Christmas this year and happy holidays x


Contributed by committee member by Eva Khoo

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