Last Christmas was supposed to be out last Christmas on the island so, we didn’t go to Canada because this year we’d be moving mid December and home for Christmas. Well as you have probably guessed, we aren’t leaving yet. So, in mid August the debate began. Should we fly to Canada, should we stay in Koné? I’ll be honest, and I am sorry if I insult anyone, but hot Christmas is just wrong! And after 3 hot holidays you can imagine my vote. But, after much discussion and some realizations (umm we have no winter clothes) we decided to stay here. It was tough knowing that we would again be away from family but it just made logistical sense. So, alas “hot Christmas number 4” is in full swing.
For all you North Americans I just can’t explain how completely different the season is. It’s hot. Not just warm, it’s crazy hot. This morning at 7am it was 30 degrees. It’s that heat that makes you not hungry. So, those big festive meals just seem wrong. Baking? Forget about it. All I want is a cold drink and a Popsicle. Then we move on to the hustle and bustle. There is none. No stores pumping out carols, no line ups. It’s business as usual. The lead up is just starting to gear up, 10 days before the actual event. They’ll be an influx of smoked salmon, pâté and oysters along with cherries. There is not a turkey to be found, although, I don’t know if I really want one.
But the lack of ramp up doesn’t mean we are letting Christmas slide. The tree is up, the gifts are bought and wrapped. Our letter to Santa Claus and cards sent. The iPad is cranking out a playlist of holiday favourites and my faux fireplace on YouTube is crackling. Today, was my Christmas coffee with peppermint mochas (thank you for the candy canes Sarah!) and Christmas Eve chowder supplies are stocked in the freezer. Instead of red poinsettias we have the flamboyant trees blooming red and instead of eggnog we will drink Champagne and maybe set off some fireworks!
What I’ve come to realize living here is, although all is not the same, the holidays are about being with the people you love. Sometimes we are with family, whom we love dearly. While other years we are with our other family, who are very important here. The feeling is the same, being happy, celebrating time together and feeling joyful. And, the children, the excitement and joy of Christmas is universal with young children. Santa, Père Noël, Papa Noël, Saint Nicholas whatever you wish to call him brings the same sparkle to each child’s eye no matter the place. So, although we will again miss home we won’t miss the magic because that my friends, it is everywhere!
And PS, all be home next year!