For all of you who have asked what Christmas is like, here you go…
Christmas in PNG is actually REALLY great. We learned lots our first year about how to do Christmas, and this year it has been even better.
Our first year here Christmas felt anti-climactic. There were no lights, no bell ringers, no Christmas music blared through stores, no streets festively decorated, no Christmas parades, pageants or nativities, no Hollywild or Christmas Eve candlelight services, no cold weather, no ANYTHING. Everything around us looked and felt exactly the same as it did every other day of the year. The locals do celebrate Christmas, but as I’ve made clear, not like Americans. NOTHING around us was putting us in the Christmas spirit. We learned that we could make Christmas as big or as little of a deal as we wanted, but anything Christmasy that was going to happen was up to us. I never realized until being taken out of American Christmas, how all those little things made Christmas Christmas-but they do.
Surprisingly, though, when we were home last year for Christmas, we MISSED PNG Christmas! What?? While we LOVED being around family and friends, and enjoyed many things about Christmas in the States, we also found ourselves missing the simplicity of PNG Christmas. Without all the craziness, it is actually nice! There are great things about both.
This year to make our Christmas feel like Christmas we have done lots of fun things!
We have played Christmas music pretty much non stop. So much so that Joseph is itching for some new tunes, so if any of you have any fablous new Christmas music, let me know!
We have worn Christmas pjs and Christmas dresses from my parents.
We put up a tree and had a tree decorating party with party foods (3 days after moving into Menya…that was slightly crazy). We decorated the house a little and made our star (we do that every year) for the top of the tree.
We made salt dough ornaments and a few other ornaments as well.
We have lit our Christmas candles everyday, and enjoyed singing carols by candlelight every evening. We don’t have enough power in the house we are living in right now to use any power after dark, and that has actually encouraged us to snuggle and read and sing every night!
We have read our stack of Christmas books over and over again! (We would love more Christmas books…anyone have any suggestions??)
We read “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” together.
We have watched a Christmas movie for our Friday night movie night each Friday in December. This last Friday we made our pizzas in Christmas shapes too.
We have had snowman pancakes and a candy cane danish.
We made gingerbread house with the Walkers.
We made fake snow and had fun making snowballs inside while it rained outside.
We made a toilet paper roll nativity. (you can see it in the picture above)
We have made and decorated several different kinds of Christmas cookies.
We have read the Christmas story from the Bible and acted it out.
We cut out snowflakes.
We made Christmas cards for one another and for the Walkers.
We made gifts for the kids and the kids made some for each other.
And probably some other things too. It has been fun, and it has felt like Christmas. It has been a lot of work for Mommy and Daddy, but we enjoy it. Everything we do we do as a family and we really get to enjoy one another and focus on the things we want to at Christmas. While I sometimes struggle when I miss family or when I look on FB and see fun things we are missing at home, we are blessed to get to enjoy Christmas this way!