This year we had a really relaxed Christmas. We spent the morning doing the Christmas stockings and presents and playing around and then we headed to our friend's house in the afternoon. I THINK (my memory is not exactly great...) that it is the first year in about 10 years that we haven't had "Christmas Dinner" at our house. We have been so lucky in that we have always had family or friends come to visit over this time, but this year one of our friends kindly offered their house for us to share Christmas at. It was a great afternoon/evening/night where 3 "international" families got together, all brought different parts of the dinner and just generally had a great time chatting and eating till we burst. I'm sure it wasn't as relaxing for Kayo and Steve as it was for us, but I had a great time. Thank you! It was made better by the fact that they had a spare room where we could stay so both Tom and I could have a few glasses of wine and not have to worry about how we were going to get home!
I know that for a lot of international couples living in Japan Christmas is a time where the "foreign" member of the family starts to get homesick and wishes they were home with their family as the Japanese Christmas is just not the same as "home". I agree it is not the same, but it is what you make it and for me I really enjoy the special time we make it here. The kids are still fully into Santa and the build up to Christmas starts in about October for my son. Children definitely make Christmas for me. Of course I wouldn't protest to a warm New Zealand Christmas in the near future, but for now I am happy sitting by the fire reading books and relaxing with great company and delicious food.