Christmas is my favourite time of year. It’s a time for family and friends to celebrate love, hope and pray for goodwill for the new year. The holidays are also a time for great food, parties and gifting from the heart. Even though I never seem to have everything I want, here I have listed my Christmas must haves for the holiday season.
“It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree, it’s who’s around it that truly matters.”
I love food. Food is the one thing I can always count on when I am feeling home sick. I have been living in Japan for about one year, and this means that I have been without family for a year. A traditional Jamaican Christmas dinner has chicken, rice and peas, curried goat, baked ham and a plethora of juices and sides.
Last Christmas, I came up with a mini version of this dish and I promised myself that I would eat this every Christmas by myself until I had a family of my own to share the recipes with. My favourite recipe, though, is Jamaican rice and peas using gungo peas from back home and a really good, well-seasoned baked chicken. I also love potato salad with fresh mayonnaise and steamed vegetables. I can just smell the chicken even now. What is your favourite Christmas recipe?
Warm Coat es
Okinawa is the warmest prefecture in Japan. This means that for the greater portion of the year, it’s sunny days and blue skies. In December, however, it starts to get very cold. Very cold, to me, means anything below twenty degrees Celsius. I wasn’t prepared for that when I first got here, and the first chance I got, I grabbed two warm coats.
A warm coat for me is one winter must have that I couldn’t live without. Even as I type, I am wearing one of the coats I bought in Forever 21. A warm coat does not have to be expensive to be great. Both coats cost about USD$15 at Bershka and Forever 21 on sale but there are similar ones also available on Amazon.
A good moisturizer is one of my Christmas must haves that I place as top priority. Living in a humid climate makes my skin extremely dry. The air is moist but that just wreaks havoc on my hair and skin. My go-to moisturizer during the winter season is coconut oil. Coconut oil is used in a number of beauty products which range from shampoos to face cremes.
Extra virgin coconut oil contains many antibacterial and anti-fungal ingredients. It can also serve as an excellent moisturizer, because it can penetrate hair better than many other oils. Bonus, coconut oil also smells divine. You can go around smelling like a brand new batch of cookies or a divine cake, fresh out of the oven.
Friends Or Family To Celebrate With
I said earlier that I promised to eat my traditional Christmas dinner by myself. Ideally, I prefer having some friends or family to celebrate with so we can take the time to bond and really build a bridge. Christmas is not really a family or friends event in Japan, it is mainly for couples. This means that for everyone it’s work as usual.
During my year on IE Island, I have formed a few friendships with the residents of IE. One of the biggest highlights of my day is heading to my Board of Education to sign out, check in with my supervisor and share a good laugh with the persons working there.
Family and friends just make Christmas that much more special, and this year I have decided to invite everyone over for a traditional Jamaicanese Christmas dinner. At this dinner, we can just relax, talk, eat great Japanese and Jamaican food, and tighten our bonds as we prepare for the new year. I think it is a great opportunity to let your hair down and build connections despite existing cultural barriers.
DIYs are awesome. Christmas inspired DIYs are even more awesome. A DIY or do-it-yourself is when you take something that you would normally buy and, well, do it yourself. The holiday season is full of laughter, fun and pretty houses and stores to look at. Christmas decorations add to the excitement and the scenery.
For me, Christmas decorations, remind me of home. When I look at a tree or a hand-crafted ornament, I am flown back, all the way across the seas to Jamaica. Every year I use one class to make Christmas ornaments with my students. It is a no-stress English class where everyone gets to have fun.
The best part of these classes is seeing the student’s creativity come alive. You’d be surprised that even the shyest of students becomes the greatest of artists. I also decorate my apartment with the best ones from each class. It really warms my heart and makes me feel that much closer to them.
How About You?
Many of my Christmas must haves include non-material things such as the people I invite to dinner or the students who help to make decorations. It might be something small, but what is the one item (non-material) that you must have this Christmas? Is it your mom who lives in a different state? Does it involved visiting and helping out in that shelter you’ve been passing all year? Whatever it is, go for it. Go visit your mom or dad. Volunteer your time and spread some Christmas cheer. You’ll be so glad you did.
So there you have it. These are my Christmas Must Haves.
My last posts are linked below. Be sure to check them out as well:
What are some of your Christmas Must Haves? Did any of them make the list? Please comment below.
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Until next time. Peace, love and prayers.