It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

Here in Kenya, there are not necessarily a lot of "Christmas cues." The weather is just about the same, 70s and sunny with afternoon rains most days. We don't have TV or radio, or get the newspaper, so no ads. We haven't been to a store outside of Bomet since October, so haven't seen any stores selling Christmas stuff or putting up decorations. So all that to say, we have to take steps to make ourselves feel like it's Christmas! Many missionary families around here have a lot of traditions that help. We're trying to make some.

Last year we made sure to bring a small box of favorite ornaments with us to Tenwek, although there are no Christmas trees for sale here. We hang them up on a long ribbon above the fireplace. This year it was a LOT of fun to unpack the box with Maggie. There were many "ooohs" and "wows". She especially liked anything with bells. Here she is, getting ornaments from the box and handing them to Daddy to hang up. Not sure why she looks so distressed, since she was rather enjoying herself. :)
Here you can see Eric working on the arranging above the fireplace. Also on the mantle are featured our stockings. Everyone's mom made them one, including Maggie's. :) And one extra stocking, to remind us of the new kiddo we'll have next year at this time!
Right after we got home from Thanksgiving dinner, Eric put on Christmas music for the first time. We always put up our tree in the US (always meaning the 4 years we were there for Christmas) to Christmas music and drank egg nog. Mmm. Well, the egg nog is a little harder to come by (I made it last year for New Year's Eve, but it was a bit extravagant with its 12 egg yolks...we may save it for another special occasion), so we went with hot chocolate instead. I made some whipped cream from skimming our cow's milk, and added a festive touch.
Something else we always liked to do in the States was make an Advent wreath out of fresh greenery and celebrate the Sundays of Advent with devotions. We had a wire frame that we used in the States, but here Eric just cut down some branches and fashioned a circle with some green twine. We put the candles (could only find white) in little glass ramekins. Nice, huh?
Every day when Maggie gets up, she walks into the living room and says, "Oooh!" We're teaching her to be "gentle" with the ornaments and stockings. It's been fun to feel like Christmas really is on its way, and fun to see it through Maggie's eyes, too.
Oh, and one last picture. It wouldn't be Christmas without cookies, right? Here is Maggie, helping me make molasses cookies. She really liked licking the molasses jar lid (I needed something to keep her distracted). It was actually quite surprising to me how much she liked the taste of molasses. :)


Anonymous said...

So fun, guys!! Nice job on the advent wreath---prettier than the store-bought ones in the states for sure. We'll miss having you guys around for the holidays...

Anonymous said...

Sure do like the blue stocking, looks great. I agree, we sure will miss having you all around for the holidays. Maggie is at such a fun age to be celebrating...enjoy.

Love Mom