The Christmas Fight

I grew up in Samoa. There were six of us children. Our father is Samoan and our mother is a New Zealander so we grew up with a western/British flavor added to our tropical island Christmas celebrations. Christmas is about family and inevitably as the day draws near, I am reminded of my family Christmas traditions and celebrations – and what I can learn from them and carry on with my own children. May I present…the Twelve Days of Christmas Traditions.

The Christmas Fight. It’s a stone cold fact that the Christmas season can be a conflict-ridden one. Stress levels can be riding high, there’s angst as Xmas wishes war against budget constraints, and a home is crowded to incendiary levels as alllllll your children are home for the holidays. Growing up, our home was no different. Our parent’s celebrate their wedding anniversary on Dec 15th and so without fail, they usually have a domestic bliss squabble of some kind around this date and then we six must tiptoe around their silent treatment for a few days.  Usually its because my father hasn’t paid tribute to the anniversary in a Wife-approved manner. As in, “Perfume?! Chanel No5 AGAIN? Can’t you ever think to buy me anything else?”and “Orchids? What on earth possessed you to think that I would want four orchid plants for my anniversary? You know they won’t stay alive for very long!”  Thankfully, their scrap always clears up in time for Christmas Day, leaving the home filled with joy to the world feelings. It took her a few years but finally my mother figured out how to fix this problem of having a husband who could not read her mind and decipher her deepest wishes. She buys her own anniversary present now. This year it was a baroque pearl necklace (which to me, looked suspiciously like a string of warty slugs – but then I am a very unrefined and uncultured woman who thinks Kmart is the height of shopping bliss). And a delicious pair of sky-high pink platform shoes. I was coveting those shoes in a very Biblical way. My mother is 70 years old. She rocks. I am hopeful that I can walk in such shoes by the time I’m 70. Because I tried them on and fell over.

Christmas Tradition Message? Don’t get married just before Christmas. It has the potential to put a damper on your future family festive celebrations. Me and the Hot Man celebrate our anniversary on Dec 26th. Much better. And everyone knows the Boxing Day sales are amazing places to buy that perfect anniversary gift (for one’s self.) This year I’m getting me a delicious pair of pink platform shoes. Only roof-high ones though. I’m not as cool as my mum. Not yet.

So – what causes Christmas season tension in YOUR house?!

Yes, post Christmas Day, this will be my skanky feet walking past. Happy anniversary to me!
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7 comments

  1. I have a sister that is a serial fly killer. While we prepare Christmas feasts, she would even swat the flies as they are standing on people (i.e. me). That usually causes anger and could result in her getting thrown with a piece of soy sauce marinated chicken thigh (previously destined for the bbq), which could then leave a big black splatter on her cheek/face and down her new white top.At the end, it's actually quite comical, but just not while I was getting swatted at.

  2. First of all Ms. Young, your mother ROCKS!!! I love the above blog. I have parents who do not celebrate their anniversary, but it's before Christmas. I was shocked when they told us we were celebrating their anniversary this year. OMG! we haven't had the silent treatment done to us yet. *crossing fingers* But next year we will definitely have the silent treatmennt. Our family's tradition is to have everyone's vacation done before or after Christmas. During Christmas week until New Year's celebration, everyone (not married adults, young ones and my parents) have to be home to celebrate as a family. I would not complain about that. We have just started a secret santa or white elephant idea and I'm so excited for it. Christmas is this Sunday and I can't wait.I enjoyed the blog Ms. Young and thank you for sharing.

  3. ahahaha !Yu're the BOMB.COM ! Christmas tension in my house starts from tha family lotu – when my aunt wants to sing ALL 10 versus(slight exageration*ahem.) of some samoan hymn that yu only sing on christmas day(or something like that?). My naan'z face always goes smeegle when my aunt quickly goes into the 3rd verse-thats when we all know that we're gonna be singing the remaining 7'lolz…And that's our que not to make any eye contact with the old lady. But if i mention the fight about the ham not being cooked to perfection , or the brother that rocks up with nothing to the christmas feed but all ten-hundred of his kids…We just might start another war.hahahGoodnight mother earth = )

  4. My family's holiday practice in Samoa many many moons ago revolved around choir work: hard core choir work!!! My parents (both have passed on) were staunch LMS/EFKS believers. It naturally followed that weeks leading up to Xmas were spent in laborious mandatory choir practices. This meant that while our peers were happily sharing their Xmas eve plans with us, leaving us with images of fun filled Christmas days; my sisters and I were blaring out Christmas carols in front of our village houses from 7pm Xmas eve to 7am Xmas morning. When the village proper was covered we were packed into a bus to sing for families with links to ours but have moved to settle in the new areas like Alafua, Moamoa, Siusega, Vaoala and Tiapapata. This choir activity was termed as our annual 'Manuao'(not battleship but literally a bird that sings in the following day or heralds in the birth of Christ). It was the absolute highlight of my Xmas… NOT! To be brutally honest, my Christmas day memories for many many years remain a BLUR, we were so buggered from singing our souls away all night, we slept through the morning service,(I was usually nudged when I snored and when that did not work, my mom authorized someone next to me to pinch my lap hard!) and crashed the moment we got home. We usually surfaced at 5 to 6ish, starving as hell and wondering "really? is this it?" sigh!Nowadays, no one from my wee family is in a choir, we attend Xmas eve service, we yarn all night, we watch movies, we eat and we sleep in on Xmas day. We basically spend the whole day at home, just being together. My parents lives were of service and they trained us well to do the same. I remain grateful and humbled as I see my own life follow through their path, but I have chosen to shape my own Xmas tradition with my girls in the hope that when they look back as I am doing now, they can say with all honesty: "our Xmases were spent with mom and dad". That simple statement reaffirms that the best tradition from my perspective is just being there with your lot. Its not the food, or presents its just being with each other. Who knows if it will be the last Xmas you spend together. Happy holidays Sleepless in Samoa!

  5. Anon – youre Christmas sounds a lot like ours when the whole family gets together! lol. We're a very 'spirited and feisty' bunch and now that we are older and have brought more children into the Christmas mixture, things only get feistier. Have a good one!Breda, I love that. I can imagine those long ago Christmas choir christmases from your vivid descriptions and yes, I agree, the best tradition is just being together and having fun together. Darren is much better at remembering this than I am. I want to bake 24-7 and plan a huge production for the day but he gently suggests…just order a pre-cooked ham…we'll buy a cake…we don't need to do all that other stuff to make it a blessed day…And he's usually right. As life gets busier and more crowded/stressed, there is great strength and enduring joy to be found in just taking time to be together, to breathe, to love. A blessed holiday wish to your family as well Breda!

  6. This is pretty random as I've just finished reading 'Telesa' and I love, love, loved it!! It only took me two days to read it (I waited two months for 'Telesa' at the library lol)…this was in between my five kids, working full time, getting my wisdom tooth pulled out..ohh and trying to shop for Christmas this weekend. I just couldn't put the book down, I didn't want 'Telesa' to end ;( …..can't wait for the next book!! Also, I think it's great how you wrote a story that our Samoan and other PI youth can relate and identify themselves in the characters in 'Telesa' Thank you Lani for you wonderful gift.La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou

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