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How we celebrated Christmas- the true meaning of X’mas

In the first week of December, we had had the tree put up and my daughter and her friends took turns decorating the tree. For about 3 weeks now, our house has looked festive. The curtains which were red and white seemed particularly suited for the festivities.

We don’t do much food on X’mas- for the simple reason that our family is small and we live in a country where we do not have relatives who would come calling for X’mas- X’mas is a working day, where we live.

But we did manage to celebrate in our own small way. For the season is one of giving and that is what I want my daughter to remember of this X’mas, just two years before she would be moving out into the world, leaving me all alone.

I managed to buy quite a few gifts for children who live around us- people of many nationalities- Sudanese, Egyptians, Russians, Jordanians, Iraqis, Tunisians, Sri Lankans- all my daughter’s friends and acquaintances. My daughter managed to make friends with all these children, despite not knowing any language but her own, when she first came to this place as a 6 year old. Now she is 15 and all these children are her friends and they consider our home, their own home- a place to come when they need to play in peace, especially during the harsh summers we have here. How rightly has it been said, that children do not need any language to communicate with one another- all they need is a smile and a friendly heart- both things which we adults need to learn from them or learn not to lose as we grow up.

We had a party last night for all these children- we managed to have food for all the different children- food they were familiar with and the wonder and awe on their faces as they saw the lit X’mas tree was a sight to behold.

Today they came back in the morning to look at their gifts, for my daughter had arranged gifts for each of her friends around the tree and their yells of happiness as they opened their gifts- words cannot describe.

Our breakfast and lunch were simple but our hearts were full because of the feelings of togetherness we had with the community who lived around us- our friends in a strange land- our family in a foreign country.

The true spirit of X’mas lies in giving- freely and with open hearts, minds and hands.