When you're away from home and away from family you tend to think about what makes Christmas special? Is it the tree, the lights, or Christmas carols? Is it stockings and presents under the tree? Is it a feeling, a taste or a smell?
I think I started to panic (a little) in November when it seemed too warm to be almost Christmas. Then there was the tree situation and so few decorations. No homes lit up with lights and Christmas displays. No stockings, no turkey, no...you get the point!
On December 1st I brought out a few Christmas things I'd packed from home: our special advent calendar, Christmas piano music and three Christmas books (Rudolph, The Christmas Story, Twas the Night Before Christmas). The kids were ecstatic. Soon the advent calendar was up and the first little box opened. The sound of Christmas carols and singing - tradition.
I bought the Christmas tree and put the lights on. Some Danish friends showed Alanna how to make some pretty decorations. She set to work and filled the tree. Still a bit too much space between the branches so we bought white feather boas to wrap around it to look like snow. It's reminds me of a "Grinch" Christmas tree - full of fun and color!
I thought it was the turkey that made Christmas and I've done my research. We went out for American Thanksgiving to the Taj Vivante - it was horrible. Then I went out for the OWC Christmas lunch at the Taj Residency - it was disappointing. Next Michael and I went to a wine dinner at the Ista. The company is always good at these events but the turkey - two thumbs down - no stuffing, no gravy!
So I've given up on the turkey...almost. Tonight, one more shot at Toscano's for their Christmas Eve dinner. But expectations have been lowered. On Christmas day I won't fight it, I'll try not to crave it - we will have steak!
So what is it really? There are things that we miss but we'll have them again soon enough. I think it is pretty obvious - we can't replace family, we'll miss them alot. But, we have the four of us and our own traditions. We'll go to mass tonight and try to remember the true meaning of Christmas. And we will enjoy the excitement waking up in the morning and hoping that Santa remembers us on the other side of the world.
We will enjoy our coffee in the warmth on the patio and be thankful for what we have.
Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!