Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays from Malaysia

A few readers have asked me what I'm going to do for Christmas here in Malaysia and so it got me thinking...

2005 Christmas in New York

I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota where it was always a white Christmas. Snow outside, fires going inside. Christmas decorations throughout the house that had been collected over the years and every house had a tree sparkling through the front window. Growing up in the 70s was a different time, older generations of midwest women would still bake for the holidays. And it wasn't just one or two types of treats. They would bake cookies, bars, candies... basically in the midwest back then, there was pretty much a non-stop flow of sugar during the holidays.

My family had a tradition that every year we would go together an buy our Christmas ornaments for the year, my mom and dad and sister and I would get one, they would all be the same kind but slightly different. Every year was a different theme reflecting something we did that year. So over they years I have collected an ornament for every year. When I left home and moved to New York these ornaments followed me and every year I'd continue to get a new one. Putting up the tree, I'd start with my first baby ornaments and proceed year by year putting them on the tree up to the current year. This was what my family did, and it is what I did as an adult.

So you can see that in 2005, my last Christmas in New York, I had accumulated quite a few ornaments. Some on the tree were also antique ones I found around at garage sales around my house. Anyway, this is what my Christmas was like in the US. When I moved to the middle-east in 2006 there was no Christmas, no trees, and the desert heat did not feel like the December cold that I knew the holidays to be. So I adapted. No tree, but still Holiday gifts with family and friends and other ways to celebrate.

When R and I moved to Malaysia, we noticed more Christmas celebrations. We saw the malls were decorated in holiday decorations and a general sense of Christmas. There was actually Christmas wrapping paper and bows! Holiday cards!

Mid Valley Mall Malaysia

The Christmas tree situation is this: not really any fresh cut trees (although I'm not sure I'd buy a fresh tree anymore thinking about it from an environmental perspective), there are small potted trees that people buy. The other option is an artificial tree from Tesco or Jusco. The ones I have seen have been smallish and not really full, pretty 'fake'. So as of yet I haven't had a tree in Malaysia. My ornaments are in storage in the US as I'm afraid they will break in transit. Maybe next year I'll sort the tree thing out. Not sure.

I did get a Time Out email yesterday with suggestions of what to do around Kuala Lumpur for Christmas. There are plenty of places serving Christmas meals listed and even places that will make Turkey for you to take home. It all looks quite festive.
What I learned about Christmas is it's not only the decorations, it's the spirit and being with loved ones. A Tropical Christmas is starting to grow on me, although I'll always have a soft spot for a white christmas. This year I don't think we will head to KL, R and I will stay home, break open a bottle of special Chardonnay and open our gifts to celebrate.

I wish all my readers Happy Holidays!!!!


  1. Your Year 2005 Christmas tree is awesome!! Love the colour red you have chosen :-D Have a merry Christmas!

  2. When I was a kid, we used to have a coniferous tree in our garden. Christmas time, we would decorate with lights. Then we kids became teenagers and a lighted tree in the garden was not sophisticated enough, we wanted a plastic tree in our living room to decorate. LOL ! I think I'ved moved on !

  3. K, I am really glad you did this wonderful post about Christmas. It is a joy to read and I can feel the nostalgia with lump in my throat. I really want you to have a Christmas tree in your house by next year. In Malaysia, we have "Evergreen Christmases" and it is common to have a live growing Christmas tree outside your home just like SpiceApple said and a plastic one inside to be stored up and recycled every year. Perhaps this is the most eco-friendly way.

    Have a blessed Christmas and May God bless you, R and your families!

  4. Thanks for your holiday wishes!

    Yes, maybe I should plant an evergreen in my year. That's a great idea!

  5. K, Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Finally I am able to sit down and catch up with blogs I follow. I can totally relate to your "changing" Christmas. I grew up with Malaysian "Evergreen Christmas" with malls decorated as early as October. Then 10 years of White Christmas in New York and mad day after Christmas purchases of Christmas ornaments for the next Christmas!! I love Christmas ornaments. Then 10 years of San Diego warm Christmas.Now, northern San Diego- Temecula area mediterranean desert climate. Hot days -86F yesterday and cold nights 32F with view of snow capped mountains. The constant - family and friends.

    All the best for 2012 and enjoy your life in Malaysia. I am envious.

  6. Thanks to all and Happy New Year!!!