We're heading into our 2nd Christmas abroad next week, and the first one in Malaysia (for Angel and I together).
I find that my childhood wasn't really one that left me with deeply ingrained holiday traditions, and my adult life thus far hasn't been one that clings tightly to tradition, either. I could say it was a Christmas tradition to go to the candlelight service on Christmas Eve at my grandparents' church, and so it was, but of course, we've only actually made it there on years we were in town for the event.
Last Christmas, Angel and I took the train into Hong Kong with friends and watched the last installment of The Hobbit. The Christmas before that, we spent in Texas with Angel's family, and opened presents at midnight, during the first few minutes of Christmas morning. Christmas tends to look like something completely different from year to year, and I'm comfortable with that.
A few traditions 'stick' better than others. One of those is handmade Christmas cards, Nearly every year, I design and make simple cards for both my parents to send out and for Angel and I to send out. My parents include a family photo in their card. Angel and I don't. I figure everyone must know what we look like since I post dozens of photos on this blog every year.
The hibiscus, or bunga raya, is the state flower of Malaysia. I was pretty proud of my clever design this year, though perhaps it might not make much sense to those who don't know that the bunga raya is a symbol of Malaysia.
Angel and I didn't send out Christmas cards when we were in China last year because we never ended up figuring out the postal system. Oh well!
Stockings are also an awesome Christmas tradition that I intend to maintain from year to year. My grandma bought me a beautiful stocking with my name embroidered on it for my first Christmas, and ever since then, all the little toys and candies that my parents stuffed my stocking with became one of my favorite parts of Christmas. The big fluffy stocking did not make its way all the way over here to Malaysia, but nevertheless, Angel has certainly been charged with the responsibility of finding presents to fill a symbolic 'stocking' (which will probably be a plastic bag from the grocery store).
One thing I really, really don't miss about Christmas in Michigan is snow. White Christmases are overrated.
How do your Christmas traditions change from year to year along with big life changes that you face?