One thing we didn’t count on when moving to Central Asia was the fact that Christmas is not a holiday here. In America, the last two months of the year are pretty much spent getting ready for December 25th. Even non-religious people who care little about the story of the savior of the world being born in a Bethlehem stable get teary-eyed during the Christmas season as they talk about “peace on Earth.” But here it’s just another day.
It turns out we are both working on Christmas, and we’ve decided to delay our “Christmas” until the weekend. We can try to talk ourselves into believing that December 25th is just a day on the calendar and we can choose to celebrate whenever we want. But we all know deep down that there will be more than a few pangs of sadness if we don’t do something on Christmas day.
We have fond childhood memories of waking up at some ungodly hour on Christmas morning because we couldn’t wait any longer and rousting our tired parents out of bed. Our kids, on the other hand, are too young to have this love for December 25th ingrained in them yet. Somehow, though, the Christmas eve childhood excitement (when you can’t sleep and wake up early) has found it’s way into our four-year old.
About a week ago we did an “Amazing Race” themed Christmas party for our students. We told our kids the night before that people would be coming over for a Christmas party. My son promptly woke up early the next morning and wanted to know where everyone was. We managed to get a very poor night’s sleep, so I was less than enthusiastic when he woke me up asking where the students were.
A few days later, Abby hosted a Christmas party for the kids and moms in their playgroup. Once again, we told our boys the night before that kids would be coming over for a Christmas party in the morning. Once again, our oldest woke up nice and early, ready for the party to start. We had a little lesson in telling time as I showed him where the “little hand” needed to be on the clock before people would come. He had little patience for that and told me to “just move it” to the right number so the kids could come.
At the kids’ Christmas party, our boys got wooden models. Some assembly required would be an understatement. I’m not sure why they were sold next to ABC blocks because those models were definitely a daddy project. I underestimated my modeling skills and only made it through one and a half models by bedtime. I told our oldest that we would finish the model the next morning.
Sure enough, he woke up before dawn, ready to finish his model. “Go back to bed,” I told him. Thankfully, he managed to stay in bed for another hour before coming back in and announcing that it was time to get up and finish the model car.
We may not be celebrating tomorrow (December 25th) in the usual way, but our kids have actually made out quite well. They’ve managed to have a string of “Christmases” over the past week.
So after all the early mornings over the last seven days, should I risk telling my kids that tomorrow is Christmas? If I value my sleep, the answer is no. But then again, it is Christmas after all and I think I’d have some pangs of sadness if didn’t say something.