This is our favourite time of year
We love counting the days 'til Christmas is here!
Wrapping gifts is so much fun
We can't wait to sing out with everyone!

It's December, yo'all! And yes, we better mark our calendar 'cos what could be more fun than ticking the days away to build up the anticipation until Christmas?

My Christmas tradition isn't grand, it isn't even that posh. At home, we would bring out the christmas tree, put up all the ornaments with our own bare hands and our slightly mediocre decorating skill, then carefully adjust the fake snow, and last, circle the lighting bulb all around the tree.

Oh, no, that isn't the last part. The last and best part is to connect the lighting to the powerpoint, press 'on' and then tada! Christmas songs are played and the lights shine and change color according to the beat of the song. From afar, it looks cool as hell, like a 'dancing tree'. Of course, there are only a few selections of the songs, so eventually it ends up repeating the same song over and over again. After about an hour, and the novelty factor has dried up, it can be quite annoying and painful to the ear. And it's not like the 'rudolf the red nose reindeer' or the 'silent night', among many, are played with piano or soft-to-the-ear instruments, instead I think it's by trumpet or something.

We would prefer to sing, to be honest. We have a rather grand organ in our living room back home, so at night the three of us would sit by it, I'm normally the one who plays it although I don't have too good of a multitasking skill [dammit, I want to sing too!] We sing christmas songs and swing our bodies, at times Mom and Dad would also sit in the living room and just listen to our singing. Although most of the times, our only audience is mosquitoes. We don't mind that, because we're self-aware that we are no Mariah Carey.

After we're done with our singing [mostly because we were already sweating at this point - it can be really hot and humid at night in Jakarta], we would then proceed to Mom and Dad's room where it certainly would have been air-conditioned. It never occured to us that maybe our parents needed a bit of privacy after almost wrecking their ears.

We then, between laughters, would put on Disney christmas edition's sing-along-song VCD and again, sing. Knowing there's no escape, our parents would just ignore that we're there, Mom busily cutting fruits, and Dad...well..who knows what's he doing exactly. Sometimes they would look at us, a hopeless look on their faces as if saying, "are they really ours?" and then let out a big loud sigh. At that time we thought they were sighing in admiration, and we thought that desperation was really pride.

It is a low-key tradition, but it's always the same, year after year, and there's a deep comfort in it. And at this time especially, I feel grateful of my family, because who else would keep up with our singing, and who else would share my enthusiasm of being silly in decorating christmas tree and singing our hearts out to Disney VCD?

We're not big on exchanging gifts either. In fact, the only recollection I have regarding christmas present is that one time when Dad hid 'Home Alone' VCD under my pillow. Being a kid, and every kid is guiltily bound to be a fan of Macauley Culkin at some point in his/her life, I was pretty darn happy, and it never crossed my mind that Dad's merely being a cheapskate.

But Dad's never good in the gift department, and that's how he is, someone we've come to love. And Mom? Because my birthday is so near christmas, she would normally just give me a birthday present. Signed by both her and Dad, although I'm sure he had nothing to do with it. I mean, Home Alone VCD? It's so Dad. But beautiful necklace? Um, so not him.

What goes along with Christmas time during my younger years back home is giving away christmas cards to friends at school. This is such a tradition, that come December, people already start stocking and buying christmas cards in dozens. Some just fill them in with their friends' names, and some more creative ones would literally, write an essay for every card, specially customized for the recipients. I'm more to the latter, because I'm a geek that way.

I still keep those christmas cards from my friends because they are priceless, really. I guess I'm sentimentil that way, I keep most of the things I've gotten during my school years, let they be presents, letters, cards, photos, invitations and whatever else.

I was content with what we had. Christmas tradition means a lot to me, but I've been away for a few Christmasses now, and I'll be away again this year. The tree and the singing will have to wait, but come Christmas day, I will imagine myself home, doing exactly this with the people I love; there will not be a single thing forgotten.