By Sarawakian

It is the time and season of advent yet again as Christmas comes. The month of December has always brought expectations of happiness as we end the year. For Malaysians, the school holidays would begin from 15th December 2023 and end on 1st January 2024. This was due to the movement control orders of Covid-19 which created the school terms to move the month-long year-end holidays for the schools into February.

This has affected the typical travel plans for many as they would have to adjust this to match their children’s holidays. The airports have all seen an increase in short trippers. The travel agencies have also started to pick up in demand. This augurs well for the tourism industry as hotels and accommodation see an increase in demand and hence, employment opportunities would arise.

The shopping centres around us have started to decorate their place with their selected Christmas themes. This ranges from the elegant and luxurious branded theme of Chanel, self-created themes and even movie themes like “Wonka.” This would surely be a wonderful time for families to visit all the shopping centres around to partake in the visual experience. In Singapore, Orchard Road has been transformed since 16th November last month for a visual delight. The Christmas decoration spanned about 3km from Tanglin Mall all the way to Plaza Singapura. There will also be a street party on the eve of Christmas.

Christmas shopping should be coming on strongly this month. It would be the first time in many years since 2020 that many have started to feel that little magic of celebration in going out yet again. We hope the politicians do not spoil the day like they would always do. If the last Coldplay concert was a barometer, then we should all be optimistic of the future. That concert had an attendance of about 75,000 people. This propelled the concert to the number one spot as the highest attendance of a concert in Malaysia’s history.

I was going around looking for the turkey in the various supermarkets the other day. The bird is still not easily available. I do hope the bird comes out soon as Christmas is not that far away. The eating establishments have come out with their menu for roasted turkey. The prices for a 4-5kg bird have shown a rather luxurious RM450-RM750 price tag! This size would feed about 6-10 people. I guess inflation is real as food prices have gone up.

Nevertheless, we hope to be able to hear Christmas Carols sung in shopping centres and Christmas music played in store. This would add to the ambiance and hope to create a happy environment for all to enjoy. It is important we do not allow the political grinch to appear and spoil our mood.

It is time Malaysia heals her wounds created by decades of political wars. There is no better time than now to just stop this nonsense and get back to improving Malaysia as a country without the need to go to divisive policies.

In Subang Jaya, Sunway Pyramid has so far, the best Christmas theme with “My Christmas Story”. Subang Parade and Nu Empire (used to be called Empire Shopping Gallery) seem to have a lot of catching up to do. The Main Place Shopping Centre has a good setup too. It would be interesting to see what ioi Mall in Puchong, SS15 Courtyard, DaMen Mall and the Summit USJ come up with. We can all then go shopping centre hopping before Christmas. We also have 1 Utama, MidValley / Gardens, Suria KLCC, Pavilion KL, Pavilion Bukit Jalil, Lalaport, Setia City Mall, Central i-City and Bangsar Shopping Centre to go to before Christmas.

Many of us will also start to plan our return home for the Christmas Eve on 24th December 2023. I dare say that since the school holidays would begin from the 15th, which is just over a week before Christmas, there would be a rush for shopping and return to their hometowns past that weekend.

The roads leading in and out of the city and towns would be packed. The same could be said for the airport as the check in lanes would be packed and wait lines long. Do remember to take an extra hour early so as not to be stuck in a rush. The KLIA 1 and 2 would be near packed at this time. Even the highways leading there would have traffic. Hence, it is best not to arrive less than 3 hours before check in time. Not flight time. That means you must arrive 4 hours before flight. Otherwise, your temper will rise. We would not want this to ruin your happy expectations.

Christmas is always an enjoyable time for us to rekindle family ties and meet up with friends. Gift giving has moved away from material goods to one of social interactions. Many now put higher value on meeting up and enjoying the company. Let us hope this Christmas season will bring us joy and happiness as it always would. We can then look at celebrating the New Year’s Eve next and anticipate a positive year of 2024 in less than a month’s time.

This year, we should anticipate a deafening cacophony of fireworks on the 24th of December and 31st of December 2023. Two eves and two celebrations. This is the reason we all should love the month of December each year.

Merry Christmas 2023 and a Happy New Year 2024 folks!