I’m very excited and humbled so share that recently I was asked to write another piece for the monthly magazine- KL American, here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! Since its November, its the holiday season, and since I have so much to be thankful for this year, I want to share with you all the article I wrote for the magazine. Please, always, always, always….remember the reason for the season and above all, be thankful.
By Kimbra Naber
As the 2012 “Holiday Season” approaches us Americans in KL, we may find ourselves reflecting on holiday seasons past back when we lived in the states. I don’t think this is unlike previous holiday seasons, rather I believe its just more pronounced due to the vastly different culture we find ourselves celebrating in now.
This being said, many of us may decide to return to the states for Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas or New Years yet there are also those of us that may choose to either stay in KL or find a way to travel around the region, soaking in our new surroundings. Any way we choose to celebrate will bring its own unique style that we will not only look back on and remember for years to come, but may also find ourselves weaving in some of these “new traditions” from our season in Malaysia into future Holidays.
So what’s the “hubbub” of the Holiday Season all about anyway? For me it starts back at Halloween, because although I am most definitely NOT a “costume lover”, I find that Halloween marks the 2nd half of the season of the ever-popular NCAAF and NFL games, major gluttony of food & drink, family gatherings and drama, crowds…everywhere, Starbucks eggnog lattes, and most importantly, reflection. I also find it a time of “fair-game” to break out the holiday decorations- starting with pumpkins, leaves, & wreathes, and ending with twinkling lights, wrapping paper, & glitter…well ok, I may or may not be the person who starts even earlier than Halloween J!
This year, my husband and I decided to stay around KL for Thanksgiving and to gift to ourselves the joy of traveling around SE Asia for the culmination of Holidays. Luckily enough, my parents will be joining us here in KL over Thanksgiving, something I know the four of us will remember the rest of our lives. The time when turkey (may be) replaced by duck, when we may have to grill in foil the scalloped potatoes & dressing so that we can bake a pumpkin pie (since the ovens are too small to handle it all). It will be a time where we spend WAY too much purchasing some cooking ingredients to remind us of “home” and a time when we go on the hunt to incorporate new “Malaysian” ingredients into old family recipes. We hope to extend our dinner to others as well, whether it is fellow Americans here or neighbors from other countries because to me, Thanksgiving has turned less into being about the pilgrims arriving safely in the “New World” and more about being thankful, in general.
Thankful. It’s a small word isn’t it? Yet this small word carries the weight of a million words. Too many to count, at least in my mind. There is so much to be thankful for these days and I for one want to make sure I recognize it and validate it on a daily basis throughout the upcoming Holiday season, especially due to the fact that I have been given the amazing gift of living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for this season of life.
Last year I started a new tradition with my family about Thankfulness. I got the idea from an awesome blog back in the states (www.jonesdesigncompany.com). The brains behind this operation, Emily, is simply fabulous. She truly is the “queen of craft” and has a weekly mailing list that includes ideas as well as templates for a multitude of things, such as “thankful” tags. The idea is to write down what you are thankful for and display it for all to see. You can utilize multiple thankful tags, or simply use one; it’s entirely up to you. It’s a great idea for kids and a way for them to understand the “reason for the season” as well. You can “be thankful” every day for the entire season, or simply recognize your blessings for a month, a week, a weekend, or a day. Last year I strung them up on a wall using wooden clothespin clips attached to thick brown twine. This year I’m going to hang them with twine from an awesome mini-tree I scooped up during the after-Christmas sale at Pottery Barn last year! My husband and I plan on displaying & adding to ours throughout the season, family & friends invited to as well.
If you would like to start your own “Thankful” tradition- it’s super easy! Just contact me for the PDF template of the “thankful” tags & for quick instructions at email@example.com. For more tips on expat life, travel advice & more please visit my website: www.internationalnabers.com, “follow” me on twitter: @intlnabers & “like” me on Facebook: internationalnabers.
So, wherever this 2012 Holiday Season may find you, remember to take a few moments to be thankful for all you are blessed with- I promise it will amaze you! Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, from your “International Nabers”!
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