We have enjoyed our first holiday season here in Hong Kong. We've not been crazy busy, but had some special activities and shopping trips and even a couple parties!
Lizzy finished a successful season of gymnastics. They had an end of the term showcase for the parents and Lizzy did so well. She was given a patch and placed in level 8. I don't know what that means exactly, but she was pleased.
Our younger kids homeschool group had two Christmas events. The first I have no photos of.... We met at the local community center and made Christmas ornaments. I led this little endeavor and in two hours, each kid left with four handmade ornaments and a little snowman candle holder. Here are a few photos of the finished products.
Popsicle sticks are still a staple of ornament makers everywhere....
And these I crocheted for our tree. I hope to be good enough next Christmas to make the snowflakes with the tiny thread like my Mamaw made. I'm kinda proud of our little tree. We didn't bring any ornaments. Our landlady left this tree and I saved it dump pile, then the kids and I made all the ornaments to go on the tree. It turned out sweet.
Our church here in DB has a sweet tradition of hosting Mary and Joseph for 25 days leading up to Christmas. A different family signs up to host the holy family each night of the week. We meet new people as we pass them off and along with the holy family comes an ornament for a church wide Jesse tree. Lizzy colored two ornaments for the Jesse tree and was an excellent host for the holy family. She brushed their hair, fed them a snack and made them a nice bed for the evening. She really enjoyed this little project. It was also a really nice way to meet a couple new families.
The boys ended a successful session of music jam with other homeschooled teens in Hong Kong. They formed a band, learned a lot of new songs, were filmed by a local news crew, and performed for parents at the end. We were impressed by this little group. I can't figure out how to add a video, but I'll keep trying and maybe send out a link to a YouTube video of them.
We took a family trip to Stanley Market. Stanley is a very old section of HK. There was an original Chinese village and then was taken by the British in 1840s. It is still home to locals and expats and is very western in shopping, house style, and schools. We enjoyed the shopping day, but the bus ride over was an event by itself! Very twisty roads in a double decker bus driven by an experienced bus driver....who goes to fast. The kids wanted to ride up top and I did it, but I won't do it again. The road widths haven't changed in 100 years...the route is up and over the hills....the bus is a regular route and stops constantly...cars and other double decker buses are going both directions...it was like a 30 minute roller coaster ride! The kids loved it.
Looking over the beach area of Stanley at sunset. A good day.
Lizzy and Sam and a few other homeschoolers spent one morning making gingerbread houses,
playing Christmas games...made a snowman out of each other!
Our Christmas activities concluded Christmas Eve night with a lovely interactive nativity program called CrisTingle. I'm told it isn't a standard CrisTingle service, but a Hong Kong adaptation. CrisTingle originated in Scandinavia and has its own traditional service...but here it is a portion of a larger service designed to include the whole community. Our church gathers the day before Christmas Eve and makes all the preparations. They have costumes for up to 200 children to participate, which they iron and mend as needed. They make 400 CrisTingles...a decorated orange with a candle in the middle. The orange is the world, there is all the way red tape around the middle of the orange that symbolizes the blood of Christ. There are four toothpicks with marshmallows, raisins, and candy that symbolize the blessings of life. And the candle in the middle is our light for the world. Lizzy was a shepherd in the boys helped make the CrisTingles and we all enjoyed this service.
Lizzy and her friend Ariane.
We had a good Christmas...which isn't exactly over yet. I've prepped a Christmas feast and am cooking it right now. We are eating it today since Steve arrived late Christmas night. I'm looking forward to eating it...If it is half as good as our traditional family Christmas dinners, I'll be pleased.
Merry Christmas to everyone! Love you all and miss you especially during this season.