We are 'framily' - friends who become family
Festivals are a great time for families to get together. It’s Chinese New Year (5 Feb) and there will be feasting in this year of the Pig!
But let me share reflections on Christmas and maybe take ideas forward to Chinese New Year.
While the December festival, Christmas, is often seen as a time for families to gather and enjoy each others' company, December can be a very tricky month for those who don't have many family members nearby. And these days it's very common, for work, or education, or health, or many other reasons, for family members to live some distance from each other. And while some people are lucky enough to have their grandparents, cousins and other extended family members nearby, many of us are not. Sometimes, even if you live in the same country as your extended family, it isn't always all that easy to get to see them.
So often our friends become like our family - or 'framily'.
'Framilies', like families, come in many shapes and sizes. They may be our friends from school, or community school, scouts, cubs, guides, brownies or football. They may be our neighbours or people we see at church, mosque or temples or at 'functions'. They look out for us, support us when we're a little bit low, and enjoy sharing the good times.
In all of these situations, people come and go all the time. Occasionally, people have to move away at short notice and without always wanting to. So how do you stay in touch when that happens? While it's lovely to be able to pay a visit in person, it isn't always an option; travel by public transport can be expensive and difficult in winter, and trains, buses and highways often get busier as we get closer to Christmas.
Thankfully, in our current world, technology is now so advanced that we can communicate with others hundreds of miles away - or in the next room - in 'real time'. If you're lucky enough to have access to online messaging technologies, you can make a video call or a vodcast or podcast. Or you could always send a letter, a postcard or a greetings card - one of the most popular things to do in the run-up to Christmas.
Whatever choice you make, December is a great time to stay in touch with families - and 'framilies'.