As is our tradition, our first "Christmas party" is right after Thanksgiving,
when students come over to help us decorate our tree. Then,
throughout Advent, friends and students come
over to share some of our holiday traditions. This page shows some of our
2009 Christmas fun. Click above for a look at previous years.
(By the way, you can find many pages about Christmas on this website, including: the
traditional Christmas story,
Who is Santa?, the pre-Christmas
Advent season, what are
Candy Canes, a poem called
Christmas Perspectives, and study guides for some great Christmas movies: A Snoopy/Charlie Brown
Christmas, Last Holiday,
A Christmas Carol, the
a Wonderful Life)
This year, Vivian
and Michael helped provide background music for the annual Nordica
Christmas fair. Soon after that, Michael and some western friends
performed two of Michael's Christmas songs at a fund-raising concert at
Nordica (the center photo shows Michael and other performers). As you can
see from the last picture, several of Michael's students surprised us by
buying tickets to the concert!
Our "on campus" Christmas celebration this year was very
well-attended. (Center) Vivian is reading the classic poem "Twas the Night
Before Christmas"; the evening also featured a cartoon telling the history
of St. Nicholas (Santa). But the highlight of the
party was "Christmas Bingo," in which dozens of students won small prizes
(right photo). Yes, Vivian took the hour-long bus ride to join Michael on
the new campus in Cheng Gong.
With campus (and thus new students) so far away, most of
our holiday guests were former students who still live in Kunming. On the
third Sunday of Advent, a large group came over to watch Dickens' classic
"A Christmas Carol." You can read about this (and other Christmas movies)
by visiting our TEFL Movie Study Guides. (Left)
Michael hands out copies of the study guide before starting the film.
(Center) Nico is one of the few men (outside our family) who Gimli allows
to pick her up; I guess she can tell that we consider him to almost be
part of our family! (Right) This week, Christine gets to light the
Advent candle as we explain this tradition.
Another "first" this year was our chance to go Christmas Caroling at the
Pan Long home for senior citizens. The Jian Hua Foundation is working with
local officials to provide training for those in charge of this home; the
residents enthusiastically welcomed us, and some even joined in the
singing! (Center) Once Gimli gets over her initial fear of all guests, she
often becomes the center of attention. (Right) Only one person (former
student Lucy) came for "game night" this year, but we had a great time
On the last Sunday before Christmas, about a dozen young
ladies came over to make Christmas cards. Vivian prepared many decorations
to cut and glue onto blank cardstock; it is always amazing to see how
creative our friends are! (Right) I liked this photo from the first Sunday
in Advent; four of my Monitors (classroom assistants) have just helped
Vivian pull out a nativity set, while other students help Andrew and
Michael "build" and decorate the Christmas tree. It is fun to explain the
decorations each year; most of the students have also never had a chance
before to decorate a tree.
Eve, we had a wonderful evening as a few friends joined us for "pot luck"
(i.e., everyone brought something to eat); we also read parts of the
Christmas story from the Bible while singing Christmas songs.
In our home, Christmas morning begins with each of us
taking goodies out of our stockings, before enjoying a pancake breakfast.
But no one remembered to put anything in Gimli's stocking this year!
(Left) Michael is reading a moving card from one of his
students, thanking us for all we do to help them improve their English.
Cards and emails like this are among our most treasured gifts! Next,
Andrew looks confused to discover, not a gift, but a piece of paper in
this gift-box; he was relieved to learn that it was a gift certificate for
some valuable items--once we get back to America next summer. (Right)
Vivian is showing off a Tracy-Hepburn DVD collection that Michael had
shipped here from America. We often like classic
films even more than the modern ones!
Finally, we had
the pleasure of attending a former student's wedding on January 1. This
was only the second wedding we've been to in China, though we've already
been invited to two more in 2010!
Since we were
dressed up (in traditional Chinese formal wear), we decided to have our
picture taken too!
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