We are still celebrating Christmas in our house. Our boxes didn’t arrive until December 21, which means I couldn’t decorate the house until then! The first thing I did after the movers left was put up the Christmas tree. And it will stay up until I get sick of it or until Oliver has removed/broken all the ornaments, whichever comes first.
I’ll admit, it was hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit this year. It is the winter season here, but it’s been pretty warm still, hitting somewhere in the 80’s on Christmas day. That means that this pregnant lady is sweaty and not feeling the fake snow that’s sprinkled everywhere.
There are some similarities between Christmas in Hanoi and Christmas in the U.S. For example, the same Christmas pop music was piped out of the speakers in every store I went to. You can see lots of decorations on businesses as you drive by. However, the decorations are not all the same. They have pretty wreaths, Santa’s everywhere and lovely decorated Christmas trees. But the biggest difference is there are no Christmas lights. There are a few light strands, but nothing that looks like traditional, American Christmas lights. Christmas here is a lot less sparkly, which I realized was important to me. I’ve celebrated Christmas in warm climates before, but when I can’t drive down the street and look at pretty lights, my Christmas spirit takes a hit.
Another thing that’s much different is it’s not really a holiday here. Businesses were all open Christmas day. The Vietnamese schools don’t get vacation for Christmas. They were at school on Christmas Eve for a half day and back at school the day after Christmas. They big school break here is at Tet, which is the celebrating of the Lunar New Year which comes at the end of January. Schools get about two weeks off, as does the government. All the decorations are going up for Tet right now, which also ushers in the season of Spring.
We enjoyed some traditions like a big Christmas Eve dinner, followed by cookie decorating and Christmas Eve service. We woke up on Christmas morning and spent half the day opening presents with Oliver and the rest of the day walking around the streets of Hanoi. Hubby had the day off work the following day, so we took advantage of our nanny and went to lunch and a movie. It was a really nice time to be together as a family and enjoy each other.
I think that next year, I’ll just have to order more Christmas lights from Amazon and light up our house for the month of December. Oh, and go to Starbucks earlier to get my peppermint mocha.