I have been meaning to share a bit more about our Christmas activities around here but our internet has been supremely uncooperative (and we hope to be solving that problem this weekend). It definitely feels weird to people who grew up in very cold and/or snowy places in the winter to be in Dar for Christmas, where it is just plain middle-of-the-summer. It is really, really hot right now. We’re back to the season of taking a few cold showers a day OR not leaving the air-conditioned house (which is tough!). But with little kids who do not have a long history of wintery Christmases, there is no problem celebrating Christmas here for them.
First we had to address the issue of how Santa Claus will get into our house. With Grace’s and Noah’s letters to Santa (see below) we sent him a special key to come in with their presents since we do have a lot of security and no chimney. This was of great concern to Grace (thanks to all my Facebook friends who suggested the magic key for Santa!).
We’ve decorated our (very) little tree to be quite pretty despite its size.
We have our nativity set out and an African nativity advent calendar growing each day as well.
The kids have been watching an old Danish Christmas calendar on DVD – one episode every day. Danish TV does a story every year where each day in December there is a new episode leading up to Christmas, and Grace particularly loves Nissebanden i Gronland (circa 1989) that Farmor sent us to watch. They have also been opening up a Christmas/advent calendar where they each get one small (in cost, if not in size) gift each morning leading up to Christmas.
We made our gingerbread houses, as you’ve seen. And there are little nisse/elves all over the house, with our stockings are hanging on window bars by our tree.
The kids had their Lucia celebration at school, along with making lots of Christmas decorations and other celebrations there with their friends.
Kristoffer and I have even been to two – soon to be three! – Danish Christmas lunches (Julefrokost); Grace and Noah even came to the one at the Danish Ambassadors house. So we really have been in the spirit of the season, despite having summer weather. Grace and Noah are getting super excited for Santa’s visit (despite worrying about him being overdressed for the Dar heat…and of course alternating every day between “naughty” and “nice”).
On the 24th, which Kristoffer calls Christmas and I call Christmas Eve, we will have a brunch with our friends in the morning before having an afternoon/dinner/evening/dancing around the Christmas tree/exchanging gifts on our own at home. If I can come up with a Catholic mass to attend that will not be completely miserable (no fans or A/C, no seats, hundreds of people) then we will go to church (that would be a Christmas miracle, I think!).
On the 25th, which I call Christmas, the kids will open their treats from Santa and we’ll have a cozy morning at home before going to a lovely brunch at one of Dar’s nicest hotels…probably followed by some afternoon naps and maybe a trip to the beach. We expect quite a few Skype or Facetime calls to America and Denmark – especially with the news of Bonus Baby being opened Christmas morning. THAT will be awesome and I do feel a wee bit like a little kid anticipating the opening of that secret envelope.
We’re mixing new and old traditions, still working out what a Welsien Family Christmas looks like since it is only our third time being “alone” without our either of our families for the holiday.
Despite missing our families, there is something a little bit WONDERFUL about not dealing with international holiday travel (oh God, the snow storm in Amsterdam last year when trying to get to Denmark!) and lugging so much STUFF everywhere! There is also something sweet about having one special Christmas on our own as a family of four before we become a family of five.
Christmas is in the (very hot, humid, muggy) air in Dar for sure!