Christmas in the Middle East

We may not have the convenience of Holiday specials at the mall or the benefit of seeing the spirit of the season in every decorated building we enter but Christmas is alive in Saudi Arabia.

I do feel at times that retail markets pull at every parent’s heart strings in making them feel that they need to buy yet another toy for their child. Here in the Middle East, our television networks don’t have such commercials. I did feel the retail spirit of shopping through emails and ads for online shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I did most of my online shopping those days.

Living in the Middle East makes me appreciate the little things. This holiday season is more about family and giving and I feel that more here than I did in the States where often we get so caught up in receiving. It’s true Christians are greatly outnumbered here. We live in an Islamic nation and I respect that. However, I’ve enjoyed seeing our community come together as Christmas approaches. We did have a “Holiday Event” where kids made themed crafts and got to meet with a seasonal visitor in a red coat. We’re also planning a cookie drive where many families are making cookies and passing them out to workers around our compound. We’ve bought and sent a present to a little girl at a local orphanage.

The truth is that you don’t have to be Christian or even surrounded by Christians to share and pass along the holiday spirit. I mean, who doesn’t want a cookie!

We did find a tree and it’s decorated and surrounded by presents. My husband is taking vacation on Christmas Day and we look forward to celebrating our first Christmas here.

Have a wonderful Holiday season wherever you live and if you’re reading this, then I guess the world still goes on after the 21st.

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