The here and now and a bit of way back then

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Have yourself a hot and sweaty Expat Christmas

on November 24, 2013

Well it’s that time of year again. Just a month to go before Christmas Day. Are you all prepared? I know at least one of you is and has already got a pile of presents all wrapped up.

I’ll probably be wrapping up presents on Christmas Eve. This is not all down to my lack of planning or disorganisation. I have a few presents stashed away which I bought some time ago. Four years ago to be exact when I went away on a Girl’s Weekend to Bangkok and one resourceful Mum who took an empty suitcase led us to the Plan Toys outlet and there I bought a tree house because it was such a bargain. I would say #1 and 2 are about the right age for it now. Except #3 still goes rogue with eating non edible items so maybes I ought to keep it stored for another year?

This will be my sixth Christmas spent in tropical Singapore and it doesn’t feel any more natural to celebrate Christmas in 32 degrees heat than when I first arrived. That’s the reason why my mind isn’t ready for Christmas. For 33 years it had been conditioned to associate cold weather, chilling winds, red wine nights in a cosy pub and possible snow with Christmas being on the way. How can Christmas be on the way when I’m sat chatting to you in shorts and t shirt? Exactly.

I know some part of you will be thinking how lovely it would be to be sat in shorts and t shirts right now as temperatures in the far northern hemisphere plummet towards zero at night. But Christmas is not the time for warm weather. Christmas is a time for goodwill and cosiness. You can’t feel cosy in hot weather. You can only feel cosy when you’re warm and snug in cold weather and I think the season of goodwill is more abundant when you’re feeling warm and cosy than hot and sweaty. In saying that, I felt a lot of goodwill towards the first ever outdoor car park attendant I saw cheerfully sporting his fleecy Santa hat. Didn’t he know a hat keeps in 40% of your body heat? Why would you want to do that here?

Of course, not all expats living in Singapore are from the upper hemisphere. For those from the lower hemisphere they are quite adept at Christmas in this clime. From the offset Christmas is already in the wrong weather and opposite season. How confusing is that? So last week I asked a friend how will she be celebrating Christmas this year in New Zealand and she breezily replied ‘Oh you know, the usual with all the family. A roast turkey with all the trimmings on the BBQ and a salad.’ SALAD? Really? I guess it could be a sprouts salad.

Though I don’t quite feel in the festive spirit, Singapore has been ready since the day after All Hallows Eve. No sooner will Christmas be over then preparations for Chinese New Year will be under way. I’ve concluded that in the absence of actual seasons prescribed by the weather then the only way you can tell what season it is, is by what decorations are festooning the streets. It’s spring when Chinese New Year blossom is all around, summer when the National Day Singapore flags are out, autumn with the Halloween paraphernalia and now we’re at winter with all the Christmas lights and decorations which are always beautiful.

Tanglin Mall do a wonderful festive tradition with what is essentially an outdoor foam party. First an ‘avalanche’ of foam snow comes sweeping out surrounding the base of the Christmas tree and then ‘snow’ comes tumbling out from the top of the Christmas tree. In the dark, warm night air, you could almost kid yourself it really is snowing. Then just like real snow, it all turns to slippery slush.


Except this year, I think someone forgot to order the Christmas display early enough. There’s been a fair few comments of outrage I’ve heard about how Father Christmas is riding what appears to be Cinderella’s carriage drawn by some snowy white horses, whilst some reindeer are lolling around doing not much at all. To be fair, maybes someone approached the idea with more logic than we are giving them credit for. It never snows in Singapore, and if it ever does then global warming has seriously taken hold, so why would Father Christmas need a sleigh? It would surely just scrape along the concrete causing a right old racket and who could hear those sleigh bells ringing then?


So we’re a month away from Christmas and it’s time to start feeling a little like Christmas. Where to start? Why Marks and Spencer’s food hall of course! Some mince pies and a Christmas Port I think.


2 responses to “Have yourself a hot and sweaty Expat Christmas

  1. Lorraine says:

    I just love the hot and sweaty Christmas seasons. I am soooooo over heading back to the U.K. For snow, hail, rain, and family wars! Ok maybe a bit strong there with the term war… Anyway, Christmas for me now is the swimming pool and the barbie -bring it on


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