Christmas 2009

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Christmas in China (2009)

("Up" takes you to our most recent Christmas; click here for the Photo Album index)

Sister-pages:   Home Up Christmas 2012 Christmas 2011 Christmas 2009 Christmas 2008 Christmas 2007 Christmas 2006 Former Christmases

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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, White Christmas, A Christmas Carol, the Grinch, It's 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 anyway!


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.

On Christmas 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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