Monday, January 6, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Here are some highlights from our first Christmas in Uganda:

  • Cookie exchange. For the past few years in Fort Worth I've really enjoyed going to a cookie exchange party at my friend Stephanie's house. Each person bakes and brings like 4 dozen Christmas cookies. Then everyone gets to taste each one and vote on their favorite. Stephanie always had prizes, fun games, an ornament exchange, and even dinner. I didn't go quite so all-out, but we did have a taste testing with prizes and lots of girly chatter. About 10 women came and I think it was a big hit.
  • Chad's movie/birthday party. Chad's birthday is December 17th. I wanted to do something special for his birthday, but had no gift so I decided to host a party. It was an adults-only party because we watched his favorite Christmas movie: Christmas Vacation. The cake I made was a huge flop but everyone still ate it and had a great time!
  • Community caroling and movie night at the Johnson's house. Our friends Derek and Julie work at CURE children's hospital. We have a lot in common and they are definitely becoming good friends of ours. They invited the entire missional community to sing Christmas carols and watch Elf in their yard one night. We watched the movie by projector. Julie let me put Molly to bed in their house, allowing us to stay for the whole movie! Elf was the first live-action movie Graham has seen.

Graham and his friend Silas

Molly is checking out Baby Nathan's mosquito tent.
  • Christmas crafts with the Robinsons. My friend Jill is so creative. She made the cutest advent calendar for her kids this year. Each day had a fun Christmas activity for her kids (I plan on copying her idea next year!). We got to join in a few of their activities: we made gingerbread cookies, toilet paper roll Santas, and got "elfed." Graham and Molly sure do love hanging out with their friends John Mark and Riley.
  • Christmas Eve at the Hornes. Our friends Matt and Kayla invited us over for Christmas Eve Dinner. Of course we had a great time!
Molly and her peeps Nathan and Julia

Graham and his friend Micah watched a movie.
  • Christmas morning craziness. It is customary here in Uganda to go to church on Christmas Day. All Christians do, and our church was packed! But it was not easy to open presents, play a bit, eat breakfast, get ready for church and get there by 10:00. We were 30 minutes late to an hour long service....oops! The "Christmas tree" at church was hilarious. I wanted to get a picture, but all the kids destroyed it as soon as church was over. It was a small regular tree set up in the front of church in a tire. It was covered in balloons and Christmas lights. The Ugandans sure do love tacky decorations (or what I would call tacky, at least!).

  • Surviving without Betty. I gave my housekeeper a week off. Trying to keep up with all the dishes, laundry, cleaning, cooking, and DISHES on my own made me appreciate her all over again. How could I get by without her and keep my sanity??
  • Simplify. I missed a lot of things about Christmas in the US, but the crazy shopping and gift-giving was not one of them. The only presents we had were the ones our parents and my brother had sent. We gave the kids a play kitchen that I had bought on consignment and put on our container. The scaled down gift-giving felt great. 
What was special about your Christmas this year?

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