I have a confession to make. I'm a little bit of a Christmas junkie. All of it. Well, most of it. I'm not into the whole "no presents if you're naughty" threat, and we've tried to make Santa seem a little less like a deity. But other than that, I eat, sleep, and breathe Christmas starting sometime in November and ending whenever Sonny decides that the tree must come down, usually around New Year's Day. I love buying presents, decorating the tree, setting up nativities, listening to nothing but Christmas music (as long as I get to pick the songs), stuffing stockings, baking Christmas goodies, finding Christmas lights, watching Christmas movies, and advent calendars. The whole nine yards. Therefore, it shouldn't surprise you that regular schooling, whatever that is, has been interrupted around our house. We've talked about different aspects of Christmas since the first week in December, and we will continue through next week.
This week we've been talking about Christmas around the world.We started with countries that would be significant to Kayla, Guatemala, the Philippines, and Ethiopia. Kayla's favorite thing about Christmas in Guatemala was that, while some children do receive presents under the tree, others find gifts under their pillow. I mean, she liked it to the point that we will be doing it this year! My favorite part was that in the more country regions, families take Mary and Joseph figures to different houses starting around December 16 and ending on Christmas Eve, when they usually have a big celebration and add baby Jesus to their creche. So cool. Here are some other things that we found.
- the Philippines - There's church at midnight on Christmas Eve and a big feast after where the grandparents, Lolo and Lola give gifts to the children, instead of Santa.
- Several countries we've talked about set off fireworks, including China.
- In the Congo, children make Christmas gifts for Jesus. Then during the offering time at their Christmas church service, they march around a table and lay their gifts there. That was my favorite thing this week.
- In Saudi Arabia, where Christianity is not celebrated in public, Christians celebrate with their families. On Christmas Eve, one child will read the Christmas story from the Bible while everyone else holds lighted candles.
- In Ethiopia, Christmas (or Ghenna) is a huge play day. The women all gather and cook big breads where they also have time to laugh and talk while the young men play games. My favorite part is the high regard they give to the wise men, since it is believed that one of them was Balthasar from Ethiopia.
And we still have other countries to read about over the weekend. Kayla and I have loved it. However, it has given me a good bit of envy. Most of these countries celebrate Christmas in ways that seem much more . . . celebratory, for lack of a better word. It doesn't seem to be all rush and wishlists. Don't misunderstand me, I'm a fan of the wishlist. But it seems like some of these countries are celebrating the birth of Jesus in ways that make a lot more sense than the ways I celebrate the exact same thing. I really didn't bargain for learning this much during my second round of Kindergarten.