I absolutely adore Christmas, I love all the pre-Christmas rush of preparing menus, getting gifts made and sending out cards to loved ones and especially Christmas services, but most of all I love what it is that we celebrate. The birth of our Savior, Jesus.
Things are obviously much different since I moved to the States, but I'll try and give you a little insight to what we do now and what used to be.
My "sweetie's" parents have both passed away and he has a sister and a brother, both who live 1,000's of miles away, so Christmas is here in Oklahoma.
When my kids were younger we used to go to Carol's by Candlelight, a great Aussie tradition, of Carols outdoors, usually in a large park and usually 1 - 2 weeks prior to Christmas day. Everyone takes along a blanket to throw on the ground, snacks, bug spray, and of course a supply of candles. Obviously it's far too cold for that here in the States, so I try and hunt out Christmas services and Christmas plays and performances. This year a church in OKC is doing the Journey to Bethlehem. They describe it as the ultimate Christmas Reality Experience. From the little brochure it sounds wonderful, and something both dh and I are looking forward to.
Our Christmas lunch or dinner in Aussie was very similar to Donna's, usually cold meats, seafood and salads, always topped off with a giant pavlova.
I put out my Christmas decorations usually a few days after Thanksgiving, although I'm not sure how that's going to work this year, with the new puppy.
We shopped last weekend and managed to find a lovely New Zealand leg of lamb. So Christmas lunch will be roast leg of lamb with homemade mint sauce and gravy , roasted potatoes, sweet potato and butternut squash, along with fresh green beans and broccoli. Hollie loves her fresh vegetables and gets her fill when she's home. Dessert will more than likely be a pavlova and a marshmallow snow. I thought as Hollie will be home a few days before Christmas we'll get into the kitchen and do some baking. I don't normally bake much during the year, so dh will be very happy to see the two of us in the kitchen. We'll have the usual quick trip to the stores so Hollie can do her Christmas shopping, but the plan is to just relax and enjoy the time at home with her and dh.
Christmas day involves phone calls back to Australia to my mum, daughter Jenna and son Luke, which always involves tears, a mixture of happy, sad tears. For the most part my feelings of homesickness have passed, but at times like Christmas and birthdays I find I get a little teary eyed, understandable I suppose. It's only natural that I'd want to be with my kids and my mum, but that will happen in the future.
Hollie's a late sleeper when she's home, so it will probably be a late start on Christmas morning, opening gifts, and then organising lunch, quiet and relaxing.
Luke 1: 30-33
Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.