Christmas 2012

The turning of the year is always a really busy time for our family. I know this is true for almost everyone, but with Christmas, Dustin's birthday on December 30th, New Year's, and Theo's birthday on January 2nd, I really feel the pressure.

Despite the extra effort, Dustin and I really love Christmas and try our best to make it a magical holiday for our children as well. It is still a bit strange being in a country where you have to work on Christmas, it is more of a date night than a family holiday, and the normal traditions include eating fried chicken and cake. Dustin took Christmas Day off from work so that he could spend it with us and the next day everyone at his school asked if he had been sick. They had all completely forgotten that Christmas was on the 25th!

Last year we borrowed a little tree from our neighbours who were out of the country. This year we finally decided to get a tree of our own and ordered one online. Yes, it is artificial, but it is 1.8 meters tall and not the little miniature trees that are usually for sale here. I just love the cozy atmosphere that comes from setting up a glowing Christmas tree. After about a day or two of having his hands slapped, William finally caught on that the goal was not to tear the decorations and lights off every time he saw it.

Theo dictated a letter to Santa and then wrote both his and his brother's name on the bottom so he could leave it next to Santa's snack of cookies and milk. I am not sure why William looks so depressed in this photo. Maybe he is having last minute worries about whether his behaviour this past year got him into Santa's good books.

To prevent the children from pestering us about presents or tearing into them before Christmas morning, we always hide them away until they go to sleep on Christmas Eve. Here is our tree after the presents have been pulled from their hidey holes and placed under the tree for discovery the next morning.

Theo had a lot of fun impersonating Santa and William added a new word to his vocabulary: "Ho, Ho, Ho!".

Christmas morning was full of smiles, noise, and energy

which quickly turned to quiet, absorbed playtime with new toys

We invited our friends who have become the children's Japanese grandma and grandpa (obaasan and ojiisan) to enjoy the day with us. This was their first time to experience a typical western style celebration of Christmas. 

After a fun morning of presents, apple cider, and playing we had a wonderful Christmas dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, veggies, and pumpkin pie. It was a very relaxed and wonderful day. 


Unknown said...

I agree that we have to work a little harder to make it a "real" Christmas here, but I believe it is worth the effort so the kids still get to experience that part of their culture. I think it is great that you could involve some Japanese people too. I'm sure they would have had a great time.
I'm looking forward to reading more of your updates this year.

Carol said...

What a fun Christmas! I'll always remember the first one in Cambodia, where we decorated the little potted palm plant with lights. And then at Khmer New Year, the landlady borrowed the lights to decorate the plant, too. When we got a fake tree, I'd leave it up well into Feb., because Siking would be so sad if I made a move to take it down earlier.

Laura said...

Thanks Jo! I am really hoping to find more time and energy for blogging this year. I am sure you know how it gets!

Laura said...

Celebrating Christmas against the odds seems to be a common theme in my life! I loved our trees in Cambodia, especially the Thai hill tribe doll decorations. Just so you know Mom, you are going to bequeath all of your Christmas decorations to me in your will ;)