Friday, December 20, 2013

so this is christmas...

2013 marks my second dominican christmas.

i know. right? i've been living here, full time, since 2004. but, see, christmas was our holiday. the whole family got together. and it was my grandmom's holiday, and i loved that woman fiercely. there was no being absent from christmas. 

when my grandmom passed away, things changed, as they tend to do, and it was no longer a whole family get together. both my mom's and dad's sides of the families transitioned into something different for christmas. 

i had never spent a christmas with my husband. my kids had never spent christmas with their dad. he had never experienced the joy on their faces as they opened presents. never got to share roasted pig with them, or the morning choralers in the neighborhood. 

last year, it was time. my parents and my brother came, and we did christmas in santiago. it was nice and calm. it wasn't cold, it didn't smell of pine tree. there are a lot of things it wasn't. but it was nice. we hosted a dinner on the 25th for friends and we spent the evening playing dominoes and cards, drinking wine and rum and eating good food. it was pleasant.

this year, my parents can't come. it's my first christmas without them. but, my brother is coming and we're excited for that. 

because we had never really done christmas, and because i was never here, amalio never really bought into decorating. even last year, he thought it was silly. for him, it was a waste of time to take things out, put them up, re-decorate the house and then put it all away again.

you can imagine my surprise when he came home with a bush and told us that is was for the christmas tree. we would spray paint it, and put it in a bucket (lined with pretty paper) and decorate it with lights and garland. i wasn't sold, but katherine, his cousin, got on board... and then jewel got on board, too. we loaded into the car and headed to the store to buy ornaments. katherine wanted a rainbow on the tree. as she put things in the cart, i put them back on the shelf. we got gold lights and ornaments and green garland. 

i still wasn't completely sold on this thing. i mean, it was a bush. 
when we finally decided on the ornaments and lights, we headed home and tried to figure it out. 
slowly, it grew on me. 

it's not a pine tree*, but it is our christmas tree. made with love. and the kids love it.
i did cave, after seeing the two toned tree. when i hit the store later the same week, i picked up some fuschia colored star ornaments for the tree. katherine was in her glory.

*amalio says that the "bush" is actually the seed "carrier" from a palm tree that is now dried out and no longer carries any of the palm seeds. all things considered, i think it is a perfect plant to use to celebrate the birth of a savior who was welcomed and praised by the waving of palm branches. 
the christmas tree is made from that branch
hanging down off of the palm tree. the seeds have
dropped and the branches were dried out by the sun.

we really got amalio into the christmas spirit this year.
we used some of the cut off branches to make center pieces
for the table (a new table! that seats 6! we can all
finally eat at the same table!) our house is definitely christmas-y
this year.

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