I have to say that this year has felt the most like Christmas since we've lived in Jordan. The past few Christmases, it seemed like everyone was trying to down play the fact that it was Christmas. Somehow, Ramadan was a big huge thing and Christmas was some sort of sad little secret. This year, Christmas is back! Yeah! Now, I will admit this is partially due to outlook. For me, this year, it just feels more like Christmas. But, it's not all in my mind...
It started with the Nutcracker organized by the School of Amman Ballet! Go Miss Melissa, we LOVE you! It was a great first effort and was such a beautiful way to start the season. The girl Beans enjoyed being in the performance and all of the rushing and overwhelmedness
was well worth it. This really set the right tone for the year.
This year, as in all the years we've been in Jordan, the Bean's school has had a craft-making event for parents to make crafts with their kids for sale at the annual Christmas bazaar. This year, El 3atal
was home for a change and I didn't have to run back and forth like a whirling dervish making crafts with both of the TwinBean's
in some sort of insane looking relay race. It was a great day where each TwinBean
got separate and unique focus on them and their event. Felt great.
Today was crazy-busy as we went to the bazaar to buy said craft items (I must say that JujuBean's
Christmas stocking (or sock as they call it here, how cute) turned out awesomely and JuniorBean's
Rudolph looks awesome as well). Then the TwinBean's
(with an unexpected invitation to join for ButterBean
) sang Christmas carols with their compatriots. There was also a magic show, pictures with Santa, and face painting. Take THAT nasty fog and rainy day!
We proceeded directly from the bazaar (an Arabic word in origin by the way) to Teta
Bean's for some walking chicken (jaaj mahshi
). It was lovely, of course. And followed this up by a trip to our favorite bookstore that was having a Christmas party. They offered Christmas cookies, free hot chocolate (sorry I forgot to send the invite Konouz
), carols, balloons
, and face painting. They also had Santas
who are offering to come around and deliver gifts to kids anywhere on any day with appointments. What a fun idea! We got a few books, had some cookies and hot chocolate and then... bought our angel tree gifts!
To be more accurate, we bought their toys in the morning at the bazaar from a booth that helps orphans and then their clothes after the bookstore party. We bought an entire outfit (yikes, don't tell El 3atal
, okay, it's our secret right?) right down to the socks and undies. Because, after all, if you're buying clothes for those in need, don't you imagine they need everything? I do. I generally bought large so if it doesn't fit this year, it'll be good next. I was particularly pleased to find nice heavy winter coats for under 20JDs
. Very happy-making. Great Christmas spirit thing. Although, I could tell the salesman was quite befuddled when I kept explaining that none of the clothes that the kids were picking out are for our family. He really looked gobsmacked when I explained that I don't know if they live in Amman (so they can exchange things that don't fit) and have never met them. This is my angel tree tradition, though... one toy, one outfit. Given the level of need here in Jordan, I went ahead and went beyond what I would do in the US. There, everyone would most likely have shoes, socks, and undies. Here, I find myself not quite so sure. So, I just went ahead and did it all. The Beans really got into the spirit of the day. The girlBeans
picked the gifts for our girl angel and JuniorBean
picked the gifts for the boy. He even picked a jacket that was NOT his favorite color, explaining that if it were for him, he'd want red, but he thought the angel would prefer the orange one (the orange one was cuter, by the by). I LOVED having this experience with the Beans. If definitely needs to be an annual one.
I've also received notice of 3 or 4 other Christmas events being put on (you know, Children's Museum, Jingo Jungle, Funtastic
(one of our favorites)). How great is that?! Last year, we had to rely on the school bazaar because Santa was invisible. This year, he's offering to come to the house! And, I just saw on Kinzi's blog
that she noticed the same thing. She talks about all of the Christmas lights out on trees which didn't register until I saw it in her post. We've been seeing lots of lights. The Beans are loving looking out for them and finding the prettiest colors.
It's almost like the past few Christmases all of the folks in Jordan have been in a dreamy spell and somehow this year everyone woke up. I, for one, am so grateful. It is a truly a blessing this year to be really feeling the Christmas spirit. It makes me want to do more. And, it continued with our bed-time stories this evening. We began reading the series of Bible stories that lead up to Jesus' birth. Today we read about Zechariah and his wife (our family name-sake). How fun. Now, the sugarplums are nestled in their beds and I'm getting ready to follow suit.
Here's wishing each of you the blessedness and holiness of the spirit of Christmas. I'm not wishing you Santa or Rudolph, mind you. I'm wishing you the wonder and joy of the days coming. The beauty and holiness of the next week anticipating the birth of a savior. Because, when all the commercialism and self-indulgence is set aside, this is what it's all about. The birth of a savior, the birth of the King of Heaven, the birth of a baby...