Though Christmas in Saudi Arabia is kind of an oxymoron, we have been getting into the Christmas spirit nonetheless. The kids make it feel like Christmas really is coming, especially how Misha counts down the days every day as he opens a door on the calendar we made.
Just like last year, we made a big tree calendar and Misha drew the pictures behind each door.
We then wrapped our door with an entire roll of (birthday) wrapping paper we found in the compound convenience store ...
and cut snowflakes to decorate our windows and cupboards!
We definitely miss the snow. Last year's heap of snow on Christmas day made the celebration all the cozier. Here, instead of snowstorms, we have sandstorms! This is the view from our balcony, which looks out to the Kingdom Tower that has vanished in the sand. Impressive!
The sandstorm from Josh's campus.
We were very excited when we noticed that the compound's little store also had actual Christmas trees available. Things in KSA have definitely loosened up since the times that airport security used to confiscate Christmas cards from newly arrived Westerners. We even found candy canes in the Safeway-owned grocery store chain Tamimi!
The kids love the tree. Misha loves it because he knows what goes under it, and Sebastian loves it because he likes to pull on the lights. We wrapped a few presents finally a couple days ago, and Misha noticed right away the next morning with a gleeful exclamation: "Mommy, there's hundreds of presents under the tree!" (There were 5.) How can it not feel like Christmas with kids?
Josh and I got an early taste of Christmas when we attended the "Winter Wonderland" party at the U.S. Embassy. It was a formal event, so we dressed up.
Hot chocolate and marshmallows - perfect for the season.
Meanwhile, we have nice, cool weather with highs of 70-some and lows in the 40s. Here we are back at Salam Park, our favorite outdoor spot.
We observed this interesting entertainment option for kids at the park - hop inside the bubble!
Sebby takes a ride on the slide, with a new friend along.
Sebby discovers Ramen Noodles.
The kids playing happily together. Short-lived, of course!