A Makeshift Chilean Christmas

It came without brisket, it came without tags
It came without 19 types of cookies, without a tree, wrapped boxes and bags
But somehow it came, it came just the same.

Okay, I lie. It didn’t come just the same. I didn’t get my annual family viewing of the animated version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” I didn’t get a bedhead family photo on the stairs Christmas morning. I didn’t get the loud exclamations from my brothers over every gift they get as though they are 5 years old and not 20, 23, and 26. I didn’t get my Christmas Eve dinner of brisket, mashed potatoes, green beans, and chocolate pie. I didn’t get to hear the same Dowell family stories that I’ve heard pretty much every year of my life on Christmas Eve. I didn’t get the au gratin potatoes, jelly jokes, and all-family photos at the Zimmerman Christmas day gathering. I didn’t get to indulge in every type of homemade cookie known to man or participate in impromptu family sing-alongs to Christmas songs.

So yes, Christmas came, but it didn’t come at all the same. But we did our best with what we had. We tucked away the little green foam Christmas trees that came with one of our bus boxed lunches. We bought a tiny nativity scene that depicts the Holy Family as indigenous Andean people. And we browsed the markets until we found red woolen socks that would serve as stockings. Then we got a nice room in a nice hotel (comfortable bed! TV! wifi! jacuzzi tub!) and decorated our desk. And guess what? Santa found us even though we’re tucked away in a nowhere town in northern Chile.

What did he bring us you ask? Well, we got a bag of delicious Rainier cherries, a mini lemon pie, a brownie, cookies and a candy bar, cupcakes that look like Hostess cupcakes but are called Penguinos (penguins), a pair of earrings (for me, not Jeff), and penguin and llama finger puppets. Jealous, yes?

I understand. Because hey, I’m jealous too. Though we made the best of the holiday, I think we both agree that Christmas without family just isn’t the same. Whoever it was that said there’s no place like home for the holidays, well (s)he knew what (s)he was talking about. Next year, I can tell you that no matter where life leads us post-RTW trip, we’ll be home for Christmas…and not just in our dreams.

Merry Christmas, everyone, wherever you are.

9 Replies to “A Makeshift Chilean Christmas”

  1. Hey Theresa and Jeff! Getting ready to head to the Zimmerman family Christmas and it won’t be the same without you. I think I’m going to lay claim to your share of the cookies!

    You know that if you miss a family event, you are a target for conversation and I’m sure that you all will be top in our list and holiday wishes.

    Next year, the get together will hopefully be at our new home and we will welcome you both back!

    Have a fantastic Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice. Just celebrate!

  2. There has been plenty of impromptu song singing.
    Mainly the refrain of Oh Holy Night becuase it is oh so fun to bellow.
    Who doesn’t enjoy randomly breaking out in christmas song…I know you do, though much more horribly than I or Greg.

  3. Well, the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” was one of my dad’s favorite Christmas carols and every time I heard it this Holiday season I thought of him and you . We did miss you all terribly and I am glad to hear you will be here next year and partake of all the holiday traditions. We skipped the bed headed pic this year. I knew Santa would find you. We did talk about you and Jeff but only in a good way I promise!

  4. Yeah, there were a number of changes/differences this year. No picture XMAS morning, less yelling and singing (at least from my perspective). We slept in later, as we got things going around 9:40 or so. Just seemed sort of different. Other than a really, really horrible board game (I graded it a F minus minus minus), I don’t think there was one gift that could be “played” with. So, we had to pass the time this afternoon watching the Mythbusters “Pirate Myth” 2-hour special. I was surprised to find it was a 2-hour special, although Greg clarified by pointing out that two-hour and pirate are synonymous. Silly me. Needless to say, Jeff probably would have enjoyed those two hours while you would have sang (or danced) until we turned it off and did whatever you wanted us to do. You’ll be missed tomorrow, as we are going bowling. There will be actual competition for lowest score, since you won’t be there to make sure none of us finish last. Happy X-Mas.

  5. Hey Theresa and Jeff! I hope things are going well! Sorry I have not written sooner
    but have definitely been thinking about you guys constantly! Although I am not as far away from my
    family as you , this was my first Christmas not with my family in Oklahoma and I defintiely
    missed some of the traditions as well! Sounds like you all made Christmas work though!
    Miss you and good luck with the next part of your trek!

    Lisa

  6. Aw, that makes me a little sad. I’m glad you were at least able to hang stockings and have a little celebration, but being away from home this year will just make next year feel that much more special 🙂 Merry Christmas to you guys and I hope you have a wonderful New Year!!!

  7. the little nativity scene is awesome… you have to keep that as momento!

    we missed you at the lou crew gathering… it was a very small, quiet gathering. nice… but missing several of the gang.

    i’d like to experience a christmas without family… just once… it’ll probably make you appreciate it more from now on out!

    happy travelin’.

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