This day was spent most meaningfully at a shelter for domestic workers seeking refuge from their employers.
Activities started at 2 pm. There were more than 65 residents at this shelter I'm visiting for the first time, being brought there by a friend who had helped them last Christmas.
Face painting, jewellery making, karaoke, dancing, costume competition, all using materials sponsored / donated by well-wishers, as well as recycled stuff like old carton boxes and newspapers. For prizes and gifts, there were toothbrushes, costume jewellery, pink ang pows, catered dinner, and of course our soaps.
My friend even brought her camera and printer, set up shop, 'employed' me as printer, took photos throughout the evening party, printed group photos for the girls as mementos, and charged them NOT a single cent.
We made pennant banners using cardboard cut from Asian Tiger Logistics boxes: Merry Christmas in English, Bahasa Indonesian, Myanmese, Tagalog, Tamil and Chinese.
And we made a giant greeting card for remembrance of this Christmas:
My friend also brought another younger friend who came to sing for the girls during the evening party. Daphne strummed her accoustic guitar and sang gently. Oh Holy Night started well, followed by Away in a Manger; by the time Silent Night came along, some of the girls sitting near me started crying. Such is the power of song, grace and love.
Have a good Christmas yourself with your loved ones, my friends. Wherever you are, when you read this, know that there are people who do care for you, no matter how lonely you feel, or how emotional Christmas can be for you.
For Christmas happens before the year ends, and it's a time to take stock of your life, your divine purpose, your dreams and achievements, your hope and dedication for the year ahead, your love and hate for family, friends and foes.
It's NOT a time for you to get drunk while partying, nor a time for you to just give presents without giving time, love and grace.
Better be good, for Santa's coming to town.