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Christmas in the Holy Land

…or lack there of is probably more accurate. You can find little pockets of Christmas here and there: the tacky decorations for sale at the Russian grocery store, random Santa chocolates sitting next to Easter bunnies (??) at the mall candy stand, and a few businesses that are American-themed or cater to ex-pats in Herzliya.

Christmas is my most wonderful time of the year. I love the light displays and lavish decorations. It always has felt magical to me, so it’s rather strange to have a less-than-magical-Christmas. I did bring our stockings and our advent calendar. Liam’s regular babysitter made some poinsettias with him at my request. But it just wasn’t quite the same.

I was feeling really homesick and sent a facebook appeal to my friends to post their decorations for me. Boy did they come through. I have awesome friends who helped me feel the Christmas love on the other side of the world. Check it out:



We did end up buying an artificial tree from the Russian grocery store. We were there one Friday buying groceries for Liam’s birthday party that night. It was certainly the most expensive impulse buy we’ve ever made in a grocery store! They had lights too! It was a fun surprise for Liam to come home to after school. He we are below pulling the condom-like things off all the branches.

One more pocket of Christmas fun was at the American International School the next day. We have friends who’s kids go there, so they got us a ticket to go see Santa. You have to know Liam’s history with Santa to understand why we weren’t sure if that would work or not. When Liam was 2 he had his first experience with Santa. It’s one of those horrible pics with Liam on Santa’s lap crying his lungs out.

When he was 3 we tried again. We read books about Santa for a couple of weeks. Liam was so excited to meet him. All the way downtown on the train it was all he talked about. Walking through the mall it was all he talked about. Then he saw Santa. He wanted no part of it.

When Liam was 4 we did Portable North Pole and left it at that. We figured we’d just wait for him to tell us he wanted to go see Santa. I mean, why put him (and ourselves) through that every year?

So this year, we thought we’d give it another shot. We went to see Santa with friends. We stood in line… for a while. When we got to the front, the woman tending to Santa asked him, “Are you ready to see Santa?” Liam froze. I said, “Why don’t you just talk to him for a minute?” Santa totally took the cue and was fantastic with him. He didn’t rush him onto his lap, he just talked to him for a minute. Soon Liam was posing for his picture with his new bud, Santa. (Sorry, it’s a bit blurry.)

So, it’s Christmas Eve. Liam asked how Santa would get into the apartment tonight since we don’t have a chimney. I said, “I don’t know, but he always finds a way. How do you think he will do it?” Liam decided that Santa is going to land on our balcony and slip in the sliding glass door. I said I figured that was probably the best way to do it.

Merry Christmas everyone! Wherever you find yourself this year, I hope it’s magical in its own way.

  1. Chris Schardein
    December 25, 2011 at 12:39

    Christmas is a magical time of the year, especially where you are now! We hope you have a great one.

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