We spent Christmas with my inlaws in Bogra, so the celebrations and preparations for Christmas in our home were minimal. I made one batch of cookies– triple ginger cookies from the greatest chef ever –check out http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/triple-ginger-cookies-recipe.html
And I put up two strings of decorations. Thanks Mary, for more mittens, they will add to our yearly festivity!
We had western friends over for meatballs and potatoes, a gift exchange and scategories.

We sat as a family several nights a week to sing carols. Elias learned how to sing Away in the Manger and we sang all our favorite obscure Advent songs. Maia blew out the candles we lit and threw temper tantrums if our singing went too late. In the West, there is Christmas all around — all the stores decorated, all the churches and schools have Christmas plays and programs, etc. Not here. But each day of Advent we did remember Jesus, because a friend of mine made a daily activity for each day of Advent for my kids. Every day’s envelope came with a edible treat, a jigsaw puzzle piece, a memory verse or story from the Old Testament, and a picture related to the story for the kids to color. The Bible stories were ones that contained prophecies or hopes about the coming Messiah. Those stories really made the Bible (again) come together into one BIG story for me. This whole story does not leave Jesus as the baby in the manger, but looks forward and prophecies the return of Jesus. From two of my elders this year I heard the same message: at Christmas, we look forward to the second coming of Jesus. For those who practice the cultural Christmas but find it hard to believe that God (if there is a God) would become a baby, this is awkward. Crazy, this virgin birth stuff!! But even more hard to swallow, is the belief that the Messiah will come as Judge and King of Kings, in a way that everyone will see and understand. But this is what us believers hold to. Beyond all the tinsel and wrapping paper, stockings and trees, this is what we believe: That Jesus became one of us so that we might follow him for eternity, so that we might be ready for his second coming. This is what Christmas is about.