Christmas traditions vary, but the meaning of the holidays always comes down to giving (and receiving presents, ahem), while being around those we love. Then, there’s the incredible spread of Christmas food that never seems to run out well into the New Year — turkey sandwiches for breakfast, anyone?

We asked some of our friends of Prestige to share their favourite Christmas memories growing up, and how they’re celebrating this year with their family and friends:

Growing up, we made simple presents for each other as we didn’t have much money. My sister who was the most creative ones, always had the most prettiest gifts for us. She even made her own wrapping paper and infused it with pretty leaves and flowers we’d gather on our road trips as a family together. My dad would make his beef stew and play the guitar.

I spent a Christmas in the UK as a kid. It was always a dream to built the perfect snowman, but the snow never grew thick enough to build one with a carrot nose — it was too sludgy!

Now, I have embraced Islam but we still have a tree in our home at Petaling Jaya, and we go back to Sabah to celebrate Christmas with my family.

We would have a traditional Christmas Eve dinner with turkey and all the trimmings, and then wake up in the morning to the smell of crepes and a full English breakfast laid out.

I remember baking almond shortbread cookies with my aunt in London, then scoffing a few down before they cooled down. I also found wrapping presents to be therapeutic.

Christmas has evolved since meeting my wife, Elizabeth. I actually introduced her to my family for the first time on Christmas morning. She baked a gingerbread house and little did I know then that Christmas traditions would evolve with a growing family. We have incorporated family charades on Christmas eve, matching pajamas breakfast mornings with the whole family. With young kids, theres more activities and craft sessions to keep them entertained. There’s lots of joy as they are all around the same age as their cousins. The household has certainly become more boisterous.

Every year on Christmas Day our family would spend the whole day with our grandparents. We’d play lots of games, open our presents together, watch movies, play Christmas carols and gather in front of a nice big tree in the living room.
Christmas lunch was a traditional English one with roast turkey or chicken, roasted potatoes and vegetables from our grandparents garden, Yorkshire puddings, sausages and Christmas pudding for dessert. I remember my mum and grandmother would spend the day before preparing for a big cook out for Christmas lunch.
After both my grandparents on my mother’s side passed away, unfortunately all those Christmas traditions stopped. I haven’t done anything quite the same for Christmas in a long time. But interestingly enough this year I’m planning to bring back some of the things we used to do. The food, the games, the decorations, the feeling of family and one thing I’d probably add is sharing our happiest memories of the year gone by and what we’re grateful for.

Both Harith and I grew up in fairly liberal households. Christmas was seen as a ‘season of giving’ rather than merely of religious significance. As kids all we knew was about a character called Santa Clause who gave presents to children!

These years, other than the obligatory Christmas tree, we try to make Christmas about giving as well. Now my son Zander is 7, so he is able to understand the point of ‘giving’ especially to the less fortunate. He knows that not everyone is as blessed as him. We try to teach the kids that the act if giving is not just restricted to Christmas — its something that we can continue to do all year long anytime of the year.

We always had our Christmas tree up in the living room by beginning December till the first week of January. I would eye the presents under the tree, and our cats would hide in between the boxes even though there weren’t any presents for them!

There was a lot of family feasting at Chinese restaurants. We (the kids) would run around playing hide and seek under the chairs and tables. Despite getting into trouble, we’d still get our presents.

This year, I have already received my best present – and it’s a person.