Last night I attended a ladies Christmas party. It was a great chance to spend some time with the women I work with/for and have some Christmas celebration. Getting into the Christmas spirit is not an easy task over here. There are no decorated trees, no lights on street lamps, no malls (let alone a decorated Nordstroms), no displays of Christmas foods in the non existent grocery stores. In the expat community, we all work very hard to make our homes feel Christmassy. In our house we have a tree and wall decals of Christmas scenes that arrived from Dynamic yesterday (Thank you Dynamic!). And we feel that we have the corner market on holiday beverages with lots of apple cider, hot chocolate, and my holiday syrups for pumpkin spice lattes and peppermint mochas. But it takes a lot of work to get in the Christmas spirit.
Last night was definitely an exception. Our hostess had her house decorated from floor to ceiling. We enjoyed punch and appetizers and a beautiful formal dinner of lamb. Everyone contributed to the meal with a holiday favorite. And all the while we enjoyed Christmas music. We even had a gift exchange. I think that everyone felt a little closer to home.
But the icing on the Christmas cake was when there was a knock on the door and one of the small groups from within the Community had decided to go caroling around the neighborhood to expat families. Caroling in Kabul is something that I did not expect. And I have to admit that while we all sang "Go Tell it on the Mountain," I got a little teary eyed. As we sang through a couple songs, I was struck by the fact that with all the work we put into Christmas in Kabul, without all the Jingle Bells and department store Santas, we have the advantage and blessing of being able to embrace Christmas without much distraction. Celebrating Christmas in Kabul is not easy. We miss family and friends, traditions and even the dreaded Christmas shopping. But we're thankful for friends that come to carol in the cold, cold Kabul night.