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Since we are in the tropics and since we are away from family and friends at Christmas this year, we had to “force” Christmas a little bit. Christmas is not really celebrated here in Malaysia except in the commercial sense in the larger cities. The malls here have caught on to the fact that Christmas equals lots of $$$ and they go all our with their decorations. We started preparing for Christmas at the end of November by putting up decorations, Christmas lights and a small tree. Ella especially is a perfect age for Christmas this year and loves decorating and anything fancy.
After our holiday in Thailand, it was back to work for a week (for Paul) while my brother Steve & Audrey visited us in Ipoh. We then headed to Kuala Lumpur in the hopes of finding Santa, experience the Christmas spirit of the malls and do some last minute Christmas shopping. Malls in Malaysia are crazy on weekends and we try to avoid them at all costs. It is even worse at Christmas time because everyone comes out to see the lavish decorations. Although once you get into the mall, it is easy shopping because the thousands of people that are in the mall are not there to spend money (just enjoying the decorations and AC) and so there are hardly any line ups in the stores. It was so nice to hear Christmas carols and truly get in the Christmas spirit. We were super excited to find Santa at one of the malls and the kids got to do the traditional sit on Santa’s lap. Gavin was a little dazed because he had been sleeping peacefully in the stroller minutes earlier. After initially being a bit shy, Ella was “brave” (her words) and chatted away with Santa. She told us after she was so excited she met the real Santa, and not one of his helpers. Steve & Audrey were with us in KL and they were super helpful, looking after the kids while Paul and I did all our Christmas shopping in a day.
Christmas eve day was spent swimming at the clubhouse and then having a lovely turkey dinner with two other families. We cheated and got the “turkey-to-go”. I couldn’t believe how expensive turkey is here ($85 for a 5 kg turkey). Ella had planned out how Santa would deliver her presents since we don’t have a chimney. She wrote a nice letter to Santa, laid out some snacks for him and the reindeer and settled in to bed.
Christmas day we were up at 6:15 and after 4.5 hours the Christmas presents and stockings were all finally opened and we had chatted with numerous family on Skype. Even though we went easy on Christmas, the kids were thoroughly spoiled. Ella was particularly excited about anything Barbie and Gavin was thrilled with all his new cars. Miles slept through most of the festivities, but was happy to get some new teethers and toys. One of Paul’s coworkers was having people over for dinner, so we had a nice get together at their house in the afternoon. One of Paul’s employees was getting married on Christmas day and we had been invited. At first we thought, a wedding on Christmas day, no way. But the more we thought about it, the more we realized Christmas was going to be really different this year anyway, why not make it really different. So for our Christmas dinner we headed to this huge Indian wedding with all the kids. It was our first wedding in Malaysia and it was a super cool cultural experience and I’m sure we will always look back and remember that Christmas we went to the Indian wedding. I think I prefer a turkey dinner, to curry for Christmas, but it was really memorable. Ella was in her element because she loves Princess stories, anything fancy and dancing. She rocked it out on the dance floor, even venturing up on the stage. Gavin gladly followed her around and pulled out a few of his own moves. The explosive fireworks right outside the hall doors did spook them for a few minutes. We were sat at a VIP table, which simply meant we did not have to line up at the buffet for our food, but had the food brought to our table. All in all it was a great Christmas day and certainly one we will always remember.
We hope you had a very Merry Christmas and we wish you all the best for 2012.