This was our home before we left for Australia. We lived in a quaint little cabin in the woods. It was our favorite home, and we lived just a mile from my family so that was an extra bonus. Fall/Autumn is my favorite time of the year. So much so that we named our daughter Autumn.
I will admit, when I start seeing all my friends post their photos of fall leaves, corn mazes, and pumpkins, I get a bit homesick. Please don't misunderstand, I'm quite content where God has placed me but there is just something about crisp, cool, hoodie-wearing, pumpkin-everything weather. I live in an area where we have two seasons - dry and wet (which means very hot). Right now our temps are averaging over 100F every. single. day. I don't own any long sleeve shirts, let alone a hoodie. I wear thongs (ahem, flip flops for all you Yanks) every day.
When your fall weather changes and snow begins to fall, and it's 110F here, all I want to do is lay in snow until I have frostbite. Alas, I can't, so what do I do to make it through the holidays?
I plan new traditions on the field!
Last year we hosted our first (now annual) Thanksgiving dinner. We call it "Come give thanks with the Yanks". (Yanks is what Australians call Americans no matter what state you're from.) We have had so many people ask us if we're going to do it again, how can we say no?!! Last year we had almost 50 people attend. This year we are expecting 80. My wonderful dad sent me plates, serviettes (napkins), cups, some other decorations, and canned pumpkin. I went onto Pinterest and found lots of projects to add to the décor. Everyone had a wonderful time as we celebrated and gave thanks to God for His blessings.
(Just in case you are interested, turkeys costs roughly $10-$15/kg, which is about $5-$10/lb.)
Although, technically it's spring in Australia (but really, it's our wet season), we still decorate the house for fall, or Thanksgiving. I'm so glad we brought our decorations along. This really makes our house feel like home to us.
I find Christmas is a bit harder here because Christmas tends to be the hottest time of year here. But we've made some wonderful traditions that we've come to look forward to.
Close to Christmas, we will drive around our town looking at Christmas lights, we've even driven to the next town (3 hours north) to look at their Christmas lights. There aren't many, but it helps put us in the Christmas mood. We just pretend it's freezing out. :) Last year we also decorated our house with lights, we plan to make it bigger every year. What an opportunity to use our house to point others to Christ!
Last year we put on a Christmas play at our church, this took a lot of effort on my part and kept me very busy, but it was so worth it!
The largest attendance we had up to this point.
Who doesn't love cute little sheep?!
We also decorate our home. I was once told it looked like Christmas threw up in my living room. I think I'm okay with that.
We still build a snowman every year.
We just have to be creative!
One of the other traditions we have started is baking cookies for our local firemen. Police officers are not allowed to accept cookies, what a shame. As a thank you, the chief fireman gave us a ride in his firetruck!
Another fun thing here, is everyone has their Christmas party at the local pool.
And I also try to make a special Christmas dinner.
So, although we are not "home" for the holidays, we have found a way to not just survive, but thrive at our "home away from home". I believe it was Jim Elliot who said, "Wherever you are be all there." I am human, I do get homesick, I do miss my family, I still cry when I hear the song "I'll be home for Christmas", but I also don't want to miss the memories that we are making here. I want to be in the moment.
I once read where someone described our job title as "Someone who leaves their family, so others can spend eternity with theirs."
"It will be worth it all."
I'm curious, how do you celebrate the holidays away from family and friends?