Merry Christmas 2014

Can't believe the Christmas season is almost over again.  I wanted to share a few glimpses of our Burundi Christmas with you!  It was really a lovely month and we enjoyed the lack of commercialism, if not the lack of available stores to pick up last minute gifts in. :)

1.  The Christmas Tree.  I bought it at a garage sale in 2012 and this year we were able to assemble all 9 feet with our vaulted ceilings!  It was pre-lit but all the lights were burned out, so we restrung it. The kids really loved helping decorate the tree this year.  We'll collected a huge collection of ornaments from all over the world, and all through the last 35 yrs of our lives (ok, 35 for me and less for everyone else).

2.  Christmas cookies.  Cut out sugar cookies, molasses cookies, Russian teacakes, and thumbprints.  Only thing missing were PB kisses.  Thanks to Eric's sisters, we had lots of cookie cutters and sprinkles for my little helpers to assist with.  

3.  Wrapping paper.  I forgot to put any on the container, so I wasn't quite sure what to do.  Not for nothing am I the child of a teacher, though.  I found some brown paper that had been used to stuff a package, and we make some star shaped potato stamps.  Potato stamps, above mentioned cookie cutters, and tempera paint = afternoon activity PLUS gorgeous wrapping paper. :)

4.  One week before Christmas, we picked up a special suitcase in Buja!  Our moms had put together 50 lbs of gifts and treats to make our Christmas more special.  It arrived just in time with a group of visitors.  On top was a handmade tree from Shar the quilter.  There are little ornaments that the kids can pin on every day.  Hanging up on an extra curtain rod in the kids' room.

5.  Traditional Christmas Nutcracker puzzle.  I think Eric has put this puzzle together over 50 times in his life.  He can do it in about 30 min or so, all 500 pieces.  The kids actually really enjoy puzzles too, and with some help of putting like-pieces close together, they could start to enjoy a long standing McLaughlin tradition.

6.  The first gift of Christmas: a package Aunt Mariah sent in October.  We opened it Christmas Eve morning and enjoyed new shirts and puzzles for everyone!

7.  Christmas Eve dinner.  This followed the Christmas Eve service at our house but unfortunately Toby was throwing up the whole time so we didn't have time for picture taking.  Dinner at the McLaughlin household has always been snacks on Christmas Eve.  Here in Africa (also in Kenya) we save foods all year to bring out for the special snack meal.  Triscuits, summer sausage, cheese, hummus, juice and Sprite...Yum!

8.  Christmas Eve gifts.  We all got to open one gift before bedtime.  Maggie opened a Lego friends set and was totally excited....
... I thought I picked a Lego set for Ben to open as well but whoops!  It was actually a box of cereal.  He was no less excited to find the Lucky Charms. :)

9.  Christmas morning Lego assembly.  A classic from my own childhood.  With no adult help, Maggie assembled all 369 pieces.  And then did Ben's set for him too.

10.  Later on...We opened a few gifts on Christmas but then saved several to open one day at a time, which lasted us until New Year's Day.  It was great to slow the pace and the kids enjoyed a special gift each morning instead of all at once.  Once all the cereal had been opened we had a veritable American breakfast feast!

11.  And finally, Happy 9th Anniversary to my best friend and husband.  Carlan had the kids over for dinner so Eric and I could enjoy a dinner of Thai food to ourselves.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2015 to all!


Janet said...

So lovely, Rachel! I enjoyed seeing and hearing about your days (though sad to hear about illness over Christmas Eve). Great job with the cookies and wrapping paper! :-)