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Our “UN-plugged” Christmas

December 2, 2009

Christmas in Buenos Aires

I remember reading a book, several years ago, about how to have an UN-plugged Christmas.  I was looking for ideas on how to enjoy the holidays without getting caught up in too many things or commitments and how to teach the children what to really think about during the holiday season.  Why I needed a book for this, I am really not sure…but I felt I did.  I do well with clear directions…it’s my military background, I suppose!  Well, the book delivered exactly what it promised: suggestions on how to help the children see that Christmas is more than just presents (although I am confident they already knew this), how to take the focus off the “gifts” and back on Christ, and how to carve out time from the hectic holiday schedule to enjoy the scents, the scenery, and the sentiments of the season.  I enjoyed reading it and I believe we had a happy(ier) Christmas Season.

Little did I know that the answer to my “UN-plugged” Christmas was Buenos Aires!  Today is December 2nd and I have yet to hear a Christmas tune on any radio station, have seen only minimal Christmas decorations (and the one we have seen are usually in a touristy location) and there is no talk of who wants what gifts, who is going to which Christmas party or worse yet…how many parties they have to attend!(small side note: I really don’t understand all the Spanish around me so people may be talking all about these things and I just don’t understand them or am not invited to their parties!  Even so,  what does it matter…it is UN-plugged for us!) I have asked a few people what we can expect to see in the coming weeks.  Here, the big day is December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and it is a national holiday with all schools and businesses closed.  Families gather for a big dinner and to decorate the Christmas tree and the house…this is THE DAY!  The Christmas Season officially begins now.  If you do the math, this leaves just over 2 weeks for all the holiday festivities to occur. Somehow, this is more than enough time for everything “important” to occur.  Recently, we have been asked, “What is your family doing for Christmas?” and “Would you like to join us for Christmas Mass?”.  We are, of course, flattered by the invitations but more importantly, I am impressed by their focus on the meaning of the Holiday.  It is a refreshing change of pace for us.

Don’t get me wrong, I am missing home.  I miss those neat rosemary trees they have at Whole Foods, the great holiday treats at Trader Joe’s, the Christmas trees on the National Mall, our stockings (which I forgot to pack!), candy canes, eggnog & cute holiday dresses for the girls.  The children have made their lists for Santa (in spanish) but the lists are so very  different this year.  They are completely unaware of what the “coveted” item is, they haven’t see a Target flyer in 3 months and the TV ads aren’t pushing anything. So, for this year, we are going to really enjoy the CHRISTmas season with few distractions.  I am excited to be UN-Plugged and I hope this “feeling” stays with us long after our sabbatical in South America.

And fear not, I have lots of Christmas tunes loaded on my iPod and am going to begin listening to them today although, White Christmas when it is 85 degrees is hard to embrace!


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Bea permalink
    December 7, 2009 12:44

    What a wonderful reminder of what Christmas is all about!!! As I dash around frantically with my “to do” list, I need to reread your blog! I’m certain you will have a very special Christmas this year. Miss you all….thankful for skype!

  2. Debbie B. permalink
    December 9, 2009 21:45

    Oh my gosh Meg, what a great great post as I try to de-stress and slow down my life!!! Like Bea, I will re-read this posting (and perhaps find that book!) in an effort to keep the “Christ” in Christmas! The Knights of Columbus were handing out car magnets that are oval shaped Nativity Scenes with that wordiing:Keep the Christ in Christmas. The girls think I have lost it, attaching the magnet to the back of the van!
    Missing you tons.

  3. anna noone permalink
    January 11, 2010 19:34

    beautiful wish u were here we got big snow like 15 inches like 3 months ago

  4. Ali Whitley permalink
    January 17, 2010 21:56

    deep sigh….I wish you could teach a class on this at SSSAS…..hmmmm

  5. Mary permalink
    January 21, 2010 15:28

    This is one of the best posts I have ever read, Megan.

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