Christmas comes early for Malaysians

KUALA LUMPUR: It is only the second week of December, but for many Malaysians, Christmas has come early.

Many are already on frenzied shopping sprees and making plans for a grandiose get-together with loved ones during the festive season.

The mood of Christmas merriment is reflected through imposing festive decorations adorning most shopping malls within the Klang Valley, which are packed with energetic shoppers.

A private sector worker from Puchong, Oscar Lai, 23, said Christmas was always the best time to gather with families and friends, especially with those he had lost contact with.

"Christmas is not only about exchanging gifts, but also gathering with loved ones, catching up with one another and spending and spreading joy together.

"Even my company has already planned to exchange gifts among colleagues and the must-have gift every year for me is definitely chocolate," he told Bernama.

Having spent the last 20 years in the United States, Syobana Rao plans to indulge in family gatherings for three weeks in Kuala Lumpur - despite everyone’s tight schedule.

"I am more than excited to celebrate Christmas this year as my family from Singapore will be coming home to celebrate the joyous occasion, together this year," said the 55-year-old.

Lee Kuan, 39, is not a Christian but never misses an opportunity to celebrate the universal festival with friends and colleagues.

"There is nothing wrong with celebrating festivals from another faith, just like we celebrate Raya or Deepavali, we go to the homes of friends and enjoy their traditional meals. I do enjoy it. Thank God, for this multi-racial community," said the secretary from Sungai Buloh.

Freelance writer Hanizah Hashim, 58, loves going to shopping malls in December every year, just to witness the festive mood created during Christmas celebrations.

"The trees, deer, bells and not forgetting Santa Claus ... just awesome, and being a Muslim does not prevent me from shopping during Christmas," she said.

Bernama was simply awed by the ambience of Christmas celebrations at shopping malls as they were filled with festive decorations and sky-high decorated Christmas trees with sparkling ornaments and lights.

Malls like the Suria Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Nexus Bangsar South and One Utama Shopping Mall in Petaling Jaya boast of their very own festive-themed activities, taking advantage of the Year End Sale.

The sound of Christmas carollers is music to the ears as it spreads the joy of Christmas.

A gift shop staff, Bimian Tan, 22, said during the festive season, apart from Christmas trees for decorations, her customers also looked for other gifts such as tumblers, bottles and soft toys.

"They believe it can bring happiness to their friends and relatives when it is presented. Christmas sales are increasing day by day, too, and I note that people prefer to shop in the evening, like after work and so on," she said.

Christmas Day is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed most commonly on Dec 25, as a religious and cultural celebration celebrated by Christians worldwide. — Bernama