No matter how far away from home or tradition I go, Christmas stalks me. As I tanned on an exotic Costa Rican beach, staring at palm trees instead of pine, it was suddenly there. Santa was wearing a flower print shirt, but was hohoho-ing nonetheless. In Africa, despite my best efforts to replace reindeer with springbok, jingle bells were a-ringin’. Even here in Vietnam, a country where less than 10 per cent of the population even recognizes Christmas – where neon karaoke signs outshine twinkly tree lights, where stockings hung by the chimney with care are quickly taken away by the local laundry women, where sleighs are replaced by maniac scooters – Christmas has snuck its way through passport control. Holiday cheer greets me with chopsticks.
Dagnabbit, Christmas, you win again! Once more I am swayed by your corny songs, wooed by your high caloric treats and, mostly, excited as a pigtailed brat that you are only a few days away!
Hooray! Hooray! Christmas is (almost) here!
And, once more Michigan beckons, complete with outrageous lighting sequences, chilly, freezing cold and the whole cotton pickin’, family damily (that is, all except one very special African who will be sorely missed). As with every year, it will be a mad rush of too short catch ups and too much jet lag. But also, as always, it will be the best dang day of the year.
Christmas, you may have won. You stalked and found me once again. But now it’s you who’d better watch out. I’m coming for you in T-minus seven days.