Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What is Christmas in Saudi Arabia like?

Here in Saudi Arabia, the only celebrated holidays are: Saudi National Day and Eid. The New Year and birthdays are usually not big celebrations, like in the United States. Knowing this, I was curious as how to plan Christmas for my children. I failed at Halloween because I couldn't locate any places for my children to trick-or-treat. Yes, I bought them candy and such, but they were very disappointed in me, that the real Halloween celebrations didn't happen for them. So, I made it my goal to make Christmas more exciting for them.

The day before, I bought them bicycles and paid about the same price as I would have in the US. I also found Christmas candies at Danube grocery store and spent double the price for Reese's peanut butter trees, candy canes, York peppermint patties and large plastic candy canes filled with Hershey kisses. I found these candies in boxes, read the label and opened them up. They were not even on the shelf yet, on December 24! I was lucky! Now, about 3 weeks later, these same candies are in various grocery stores across the city. I guess their logic is that if they don't put them out for the holiday, than they are not promoting it.
From word of mouth, I heard that taller fake trees can be found, if you happen upon one. I don't know where though and I haven't seen them. However, not having a large tree didn't bother the kids or me, at all. They loved having their own trees, which they had the last several years in the US. It was a piece of "home" and "tradition" for them.
The week before Christmas, we were lucky enough to travel to the US for a week and celebrate Christmas with my family. While there, I found some Christmas crafts at Michael's and brought them back. On December 25, the kids found them in their stockings, along with their Christmas candies. My boss also bought each of the kids a present and those were placed under their miniature trees (which I had brought back in my suitcases). I let the kids know that all these presents were from me and dad, since Santa had already "visited" them in the US at their grandparents house. We spend the day in our pj's all day! We baked cookies and decorated Gingerbread men (from mixes I had brought over).

I think I redeemed myself for this holiday as the kids seemed to really enjoy everything!
The Christmas candies are taped with white labels, to cover up Santa and Rudolph.

My daughter's mini-tree and presents.

My oldest sons tree and presents.We didn't even add ornaments. No one mentioned it and no one missed them.

This is a "Pinterest" inspired tree that I made out of a ladder. I found the tinsel stuff at a local stationary shop here. The lights I had brought over from the US.

This is our youngest ones little tree and presents. As you can see, the trees got a little warped in the suitcases. Oh well. No one seemed to care.
This is our door filled with our Crhistmas cards and Gingerbread crafts that the kids made.
Side note:
New Year's day was another "fail" as fireworks could not be found. Mainly my daughter was mad about that. The boys could care less. The next upcoming holiday that I hope to make special for the kids is: Valentine's Day! Stay tuned to see what kind of heart related items I will be able to find!
camel picture from:12stepjewlery.com

1 comment:

  1. what date/year does this happen im very curious