It doesn’t matter how many years I live here, I will never get used to Christmas being just another work day (or get used to being away from family over the holidays. You might think we are great adventurers, but we do get homesick. Just say’n.) A few days before Christmas the stores put huge Santa head signs on the doors, but I am the only one shopping in the toy section for my kids. On Christmas eve many young adults go out to eat and fill the few western restaurants in our city which makes it feel like we are the only ones making a feast at home and reading the true story of Christmas.
How do we make it not just another day? We spend much time hosting and using every opportunity to share what the story of Christmas is about. We have had cookie decorating parties for Hubby’s students and for the kids at the orphanage. Sugar cookies are seriously one of my favorite foods, but I have made so many batches of them and baked them in our toaster oven sized oven (that would be 6-8 cookies at a time if you are counting. I was.) I can hardly stand the thought of eating one now! As much work as it was….we had a ton of fun sharing our holiday with all of our students.
So we might feel like we are on our own celebrating Christmas, but really we are not. There are several other expat families in our huge city. The holidays is a great excuse for us to come together and celebrate. Since we are from all over the world the ways we celebrate vary drastically, but that is part of the fun.
Our girls participated in Christmas plays at the international school and at our Sunday fellowship. Roo sang her first solo and rocked it. Soccer Dude had a christmas recital with the group he is learning guitar with and Little Monkey sang in a choir and had a line in the play. She worked at getting over her fear of the stage. Proud of them all.
Little Man was also supposed to be a sheep in one of the plays. I was starting to sweat the morning of the performance. “Mom I think I should be an elf who shakes his booty NOT a sheep. ” hmmmm. Then, a package came in the mail from my parents. The kids were thrilled with hats that my mom made for them. Little Man’s is a lion. “Mom do lions eat sheep? Now I know! I will be a lion in the play and see what the shepherds will do!” No matter what I said he walked around the apartment practicing his lion growl. I guess a growling lion/sheep is better than an elf/sheep who shakes his booty!? I was wondering what this loose cannon would do on the stage. In the end he got cold feet and took a nap. I won’t say that I was disappointed – relieved actually, to have another year before he has a live audience. This kid.
I might never get used to Christmas not being a holiday here, but it did save my tail when I forgot (again!) to buy batteries. Thankful for all the ways we were able to celebrate. Over and over again I was thinking of how JC is with us. Immanuel. What a special holiday.
Thinking of all of you on the other side of the world and wishing you a blessed holiday season as well!