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Celebrating Christmas

01/14/2011

There is no doubt that one of the hardest times of the year to be away from family and friends is Christmas. And this Christmas was no different. However, we are learning how to develop new traditions for celebrating Christmas as we spend time with our church family and friends here. And for that we are grateful.

One thing that has changed since our two years in Chiang Mai is the presence of Christmas decor, music, etc., in stores and public places. Thai people are now aware of the Christmas holiday. A few days before Christmas, Haley utilized that awareness and invited a number of friends and neighbors to a Christmas party at her house. She figured this would be a great opportunity to have fun and spend time together, and it would also be a way to share the significance of Christmas to those who primarily connect it with Santa and Christmas trees. She did a great job hosting by providing Christmas snacks, singing carols, playing  games and giving the children Christmas crafts to work on. She also read a children’s book (and Ning translated into Thai) about the birth of Jesus so that everyone would know why we celebrate Christmas. Everyone had a great time.

On Christmas Eve our team decided to share a Christmas feast together and exchange gifts. We divvied up responsibilities and ended up with quite a spread, including turkey, ham, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and much more. It was an especially significant event for Ann and me because we were in charge of preparing the turkey. It was the first time either of us have had that responsibility (I miss the days of playing football in the street and coming in to an already prepared turkey feast. This growing up thing has its cons.) Though it took over 5 hours to cook the turkey because of our small oven, I will have to say that it was one of the best turkeys I’ve ever eaten (and I’m not biased at all). The entire meal was delicious, and we had enough leftovers for our team to eat 3 more meals during the following days! It was a fun night of eating, playing games (Ann led us in Christmas carol charades and “Find That Candy Cane” hide-and-seek.), and opening presents.

Finally, the four of us had a great Christmas morning at home. The girls had so much fun opening presents from us and from loved ones who had sent gifts from the States. We spent the entire morning playing with new toys and games. And the cool part was that Santa made his way into our house (we know this because the cookies and milk were gone) even though we don’t have a chimney and there are bars on the windows. He’s good.

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