Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have a holly jolly Christmas...

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all of you from us!

Christmas this year has been an emotional time. Higher highs, lower lows, overall: good.

I have put up with some ribbing for our Christmas tree. Also known as "Christmas Branch" and Christmas Stick" respectively.

Christmas trees for sale in Dubai are either expensive and fake (and often extremely ugly...lavender trees! Florescent yellow green trees! Completely wrong...) or real, super expensive, and kind of sad looking.

I decided the only thing to do for our family was was to go creative. Thus, we went out into the desert where I found a lovely (to my eyes) twisted pale branch in the sand. We took it home, spray painted it silver and the kids threw silver and gold glitter all over it. Potted it in some sand mixed with more glitter. Wise men riding gold or coppery camels and rolls of cinnamon bark were hung with the Starbucks cup ornaments I'd brought from home and a few others, and white lights to give it a glow. Camels, coffee, how could it be anything but perfect?

It is possible I am being stubborn, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The kids loved our tree too.

Bethy and camels in the desert, Sharjah, UAE

Lastly, I tied to the uppermost branches bits of the red-and-white striped construction tapes that flutter alongside every road in Dubai. It seemed appropriate. Just the other day Mike looked somewhat wearily over at me as we were attempting to negotiate our way through the city and said "Dubai's one big construction site, isn't it?"

Yes, yes it is.
We put up our stockings. No fireplace in our villa, but I assured Bethy Santa was all about coming through the air conditioning vents, no worries. Oreos and milk (we decided Santa would prefer cow, not camel milk) and cheese for Santa Mouse. (It's a tradition...I read Santa Mouse as a child, now read it to the kids, and have put out cheese every year.)

The kids were perfectly happy with the Christmas, 1 of 2 that they had. I was more excited about presents than I can remember. As I said, emotions were running high for whatever reason.

Camel Claus also came to our villa this year as well, gifting the kids with camel saddle chairs (either side of the tree). They are beautiful, leather seats over gleaming wood, delicately painted with gold leaves. Thomas drives his around making car noises, a plastic kid's plate standing in for the steering wheel.

Thomas' Camel Claus in his stocking

The big hit of the morning was the Wii that Santa brought for Mike:

Of course we rounded out the day with a party with other expat friends in one of the skyscraper residences, kids running around hopped up on sugar, looking down upon a view of camels being led around on the beach until the sun set...the Gulf blue and lovely...

The sort of Blue Christmas that's very OK.


Pat and Colleen said...

Natalie, you are always so creative!

I think your tree is AWESOME -a priceless, family Christmas tree decorated with love! Which is what Christmas is supposed to all about!
I can't wait to see it in person!
I doubt that anyone who reads your "Christmas Story" will not be touched by the emotion embedded in it's content.

I know I cried. ;-(

See you in a few more days!

Mom V

Will & Cheyenne said...

Those pics of the kids in the ocean with Santa hat are priceless!
Merry Christmas!