Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas memories

It's been a while since I've actually written something. I know I've posted but I haven't really written anything that I consider writing (at least my kind of writing). I know that almost everyone who reads this blog is getting ready for Christmas and is probably crazeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee right now. Wondering what they should get so and so for Christmas, or where they can find this or that. I am so glad I don't have to deal with that right now. I still wonder where I can buy certain things but I don't get so crazy about Christmas duties because I am not in the States, where almost everyone celebrates Christmas or at least does the gift thing.
My thoughts frequently go back to last year when my little family and I were in Turkey for our first three months. I was having a horrible time. It was really depressing last year and I hate to think that three months of my life were spent in such anguish. I didn't really consider it anguish at the time, it was more like having just one of those days every day. But comparing those days to these, I realize that things were soooooo bleak. So last year at about this time, we made a very last minute decision to fly home for the holidays. We bought tickets on credit (thanks to my generous father) and a week later we were in the air. That last week here in Turkey was bearable. We were buying little things for people to take back to them. We wished we could have bought more stuff but we were so dirt poor at that time we could barely afford to put meat on the table once a week. Our Christmas last year was so nice. It was the first year that I really didn't care about getting nothing for Christmas. I know most of you saints out there are already at that stage, where giving is more pleasurable the receiving. Well, for my whole life I've always had at least one thing that I was really hoping for. One year it was an American Girls collection doll. Samantha. I think I wished for that one when I was 16. Just kidding. Probably 6 or 7 or something like that. Then I wanted a spy kit. Then I wanted a specific coat. After I was married I always waited to get a 1 gallon jug of Odwalla orange juice. Then after I had kids I wanted more costly things to document all the cute little things that my kids did, like video cameras, and cameras and those kinds of things. So last year when we opened Christmas gifts with all the family and cousins around the tree, I was so happy to watch my kids giggle with their cousins and just sit there and take pictures of everyone. It was one of those moments of happiness I will never forget. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. So in reality I wasn't getting nothing for Christmas. My father gave me a massive loan to get us from Turkey to the USA during the holidays, and that really was the second best Christmas gift I've ever received. Any Christian knows what the best one was.
So this year will be the first year where me and my little family get to start our own traditions. What are some of your favorite traditions?


Aimee said...

I do so hope your family will have a very merry Christmas this year!

My favorite family tradition: we buy a Christmas storybook to read on Christmas Eve. Inside of the front cover of the book we write where we spent the holiday, who we celebrated with and a list of all the major events of the year. We include that year's Christmas card letter and photo. Each year when we pull out the Christmas decorations, the girls are most excited to see the books.

Anne said...

I'm new to your blog, so I thought I'd introduce myself and let you know that I'm reading.

I'm LDS and spent part of my life in Saudi Arabia. I love travel and hope to move my family abroad in the next year. I'd love to live in China, but right now for work its looking more like Canada. (Not a big change, huh?)

I'm having a ball reading about your experiences!

Our Christmas tradition is to open our gifts on Christmas Eve (like they used to do in England) and the spend Christmas morning eating a yummy breakfast and reading the Christmas story from the Bible.

I really like Aimee's tradition, I think we'll add that one to ours! ;o)


Taranani said...

My favorite tradition is you being here for Christmas! The kids won't have near as much fun without you. My favorite thing we did growing up was taking turns opening presents, youngest to oldest. It lasted longer that way, and we could enjoy watching others open the presents we gave them- instead of just ripping them open all at once as fast as we could.

Michal said...

our family also takes turns opening presents, so that the present opening is savored.

i have accumulated tons of children's christmas books--probably 30 to 40 at this point, all that i thought were full of beautiful illustrations or text. when we set up the christmas tree, we put out those books, which have been away for the year, under the tree. my kids all gather around the tree in december, laying on their stomachs, reading/looking at the christmas books. of course, i read to them, too, but they spend a lot of time with those books on their own, rediscovering them each year.

Sonja said...

I loved this post Christine! I sighed and remembered some of my fondest Christmases. I can't believe that it will be 2 Christmases since our last one together!

Some of our traditions include ones that have already been mentioned. I also have a lot of children's Christmas books and we take turns opening presents. We have a pickle ornament that we hide in the tree and the one who finds it first gets to open the first present.

My favorite part though, is just savoring the time together. Like you mentioned, there isn't really anything sweeter that seeing your children playing and happy.

Merry Christmas! (I'm sorry that your card will get to you so much later than Christmas.)