In complete contrast to the previous years in Manila, where the festivities start in September, Christmas in Kathmandu is a low key event. A very, very low key event. And, in truth, I wasn’t really expecting much nor was really that concerned about its absence. I’ve become very “bah-humbug-ish” in recent years. I like the time off, time with friends and family and the pretty lights, but I get very fed up with the commercialism, endless Christmas carols and pressure of the holidays that we’re usually subjected to. We’ve kept things very simple for years, despite Manila’s best attempt at coercing us otherwise.
Its my first time spending the Christmas season in a non-Christian country. Considering how many different places we’ve lived, I’m surprised that’s true…but it is. We’ve also just been through a season of festivities here with the big Nepali holidays of Dashian and Tihar, so its not as though we haven’t had our share of colourful lights, traditions and disrupted schedules.
But, despite my holiday grouchiness, there is something to be said for one’s own traditions and keeping them alive. I’ve always done some holiday baking/sugarcraft work to help kick in the season, planning and making an elaborate Christmas cake every year for my Dad. But after he died, no-one else I knew would eat fruit cake, so sadly that tradition ended. But as Latham got older, we did holiday baking together or we would take on some decorating project for the tree. This was easy to continue in Manila because of all of the Christmas madness, plus Robert’s very large staff and the continual round of Christmas parties. We managed a Christmas cake and Cupcake Tree, which were works of art….even if I say so myself. But…wow….tropical humidity and sugarcraft do not mix. I did not take photos of the cakes on display outside at the poolside Christmas parties, but sugar paste sweats and wilts almost as fast as ice…it was a mess. I think I would have found an alternative medium if I had spend a third year there. There’s just no way to work with sugarcraft in that humidity.
So here in a cooler, humidity-free Kathmandu December, what to make and who to make it for? I’m not even sure that there will be Christmas parties at work? I’m very much looking forward to having Latham and my niece arrive next week and I’m sure they’ll eat some Christmas cookies. I’m definitely going to make a Christmas pudding (more on that later) and some mince pies now that I’ve figured out how to get the ingredients..and perhaps I can manage some cupcakes for work.. but if I don’t start soon there won’t be time to do anything. So heading to the kitchen to try and get this Christmas thing going…