Season’s greetings to you all.  May yours be jolly and white and all that.

As in previous years we are trying to fit a European holiday into a Taiwanese schedule.  It’s not easy.  Today and tomorrow are regular school days for us, with school bus in the morning and homework at night.  We have added some Christmas traditions to that schedule, but the result is necessarily that we get too stressed out.  How can you buy presents, cards, food, clean the house, cook and bake, when you leave your home at 7 in the morning and come back at 7 at night?

This year I’m very nostalgic for the Christmases of my childhood.  The deep snow, the forest where we cut our tree, the blazing fire in the fireplace.  All the presents and the food; the relatives, the cookies and the candy; watching TV with the whole family.  My father always dressed up as Santa Claus, even when we were grown up and before we had children of our own.   No, we didn’t go to church with a horse and cart, but we drove there before six in the morning through the snow drift.  And my sisters always sang in the choir.

There is none of that here in Taiwan.  All those memories that symbolize an entire world of comfort and joy.  Yes, I miss that comfort and joy, this year more than most previous years.  And I  feel terrible that I can’t pass any of it on to my children.

If comfort and joy is yours this holiday, enjoy it!  We’re too busy doing homework.

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