Christmas in Pictures (Mostly)

Our first Christmas in Qatar was better than expected I’d say. Some things were the same, exactly the same, while other things were different.

Here are the pictures of the last couple of weeks…some from my phone (I’m sorry) and others of the nicer variety. Hopefully you will have noticed the best one of all immediately. Jeff and Kathy and Kaiya and our friend Robyn (visiting from Canada) were here for dinner one night. The photo that is now the header of my blog was taken by the very talented Jeff Epp from our balcony. Click on his name to see more of his great work. Until that day we hadn’t managed to capture our view. The picture is cropped so I’ll be sure to include the uncropped version below as well.

This is Kaiya, their daughter. I find it amusing that this little 5 year old girl who is about to become a big sister has recently developed the skill of being able to fall asleep anywhere. You’re gonna need it kiddo. Good job!

sleeping kaiya

We weren’t sure we could find/create the Christmas spirit here in the middle of the desert without snow, without family. The stores helped. Even though this is a Muslim country commerce dictates that the expats and their need to buy gifts will be served. So there was lots of the usual hustle bustle going on in the malls, decorations, even ones that said “Merry Christmas” and of course Christmas carols playing. Even yesterday I heard Hark The Harold Angels Sing playing at the grocery store. If the people shopping around me only knew the words, I wonder if they’d be outraged, or if they’d shrug. I didn’t dare ask, I just enjoyed it.

Day 1 – Home from school. Work behind us. Time to soak up the sun and let the relaxing begin.

My bougainvilla is sporting a ton of new blooms

My bougainvillea is sporting a ton of new blooms. This makes me VERY happy

My Christmas tree and poinsettia have never had a view of the sea before. That was a nice difference.

Remember blaming the kids for the bad decorating of the tree? “Oh, I let them do it that’s why it looks like that.” What excuse do I have for this?

tree and sea poinsetta

Same decorations. The exact same because they followed us here.

                                                       First Christmas together ornament.       
Yep, have had this one for 28 years. Looking a little rusty.

It’s like wrinkles. Adds character.

1st Christmas together. Yep, have had this one for 28 years. Looking a little rusty.

My sister made these little dancing angels for me about 25 years ago. I doubt she knew they'd be world travellers.

My sister made these little dancing angels for me about 25 years ago. I doubt she knew they’d be world travellers.

Baby Jesus comes with a bit of a story. I didn’t have a nativity scene in my Christmas decorations for years because I never liked the baby Jesus figure. I wanted the baby to look like a baby. Not like someone who was already hanging on a cross. The year will bring us to that story eventually, but right now we’re celebrating the BABY. So for years I looked. I was finally happy with this one. He’s a little blonde perhaps but at least he looks like he’s under two years old.

Baby Jesus was also an amusement for the middle child. Yes, over the years Annie has taken baby Jesus to the mall, to work and to who knows where. It was a regular occurrence to get a mischievous text from her saying “Guess where Jesus is now…”   Because I’d searched long and hard for this baby I was not amused, at least at first. Eventually I relaxed and entered into her fun and games.

This year as Jesus was unpacked, by a husband who will go unnamed, he was dropped on the tile floor and broke into many pieces. Annie was not amused to hear this as she thought I should have left baby Jesus with her in Canada anyhow and now look what happened! The contrite husband performed expert surgery even with a silent wife hovering nearby. The result was pretty good. Baby Jesus now needs extra swaddling clothes (you really don’t want to know what’s under there) but he was saved. Yes, you heard that right. Don’t look TOO close.

baby jesus

Homemade Christmas Card from Jenn and Josh. Crafty girl.

Homemade Christmas card from Jenn and Josh

The day before Christmas eve Honour decided to learn some tricks on her long board. Apparently ALL the kids are doing it! Apparently not all successfully. She was treated at the hospital by an Arab doctor who asked what colour of a cast she’d like. Hot pink? No? “I know what you would like. You would like a happy Christmas cast!” He proceeded to make it bright red and then put green sparkles on it. Only in Doha. Then of course she was wheeled around by Dad, spoiled by the staff here at the condo and pampered by her friends. It did throw a ‘little monkey’ wrench into the pedicure I had planned, not to mention the dilemma of figuring out if the boots I bought her fit before the deadline to take them back.

dec 22 christmas cast

We went to a lovely service at the Anglican church on Christmas Eve eve and sang carols and lit candles and all the lovely things I like to do on Christmas Eve at home. It really was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

But not to look like Christmas. Mainly because this happened on Christmas Eve Day. This fell into the category of Never Before.

christmas eve dashboard

Also, a very lovely party happened on Christmas Eve with old friends and new friends. The table was set with beautiful food, we were all dressed up and sparkly. But you’ll just have to take my word for it because we forgot our camera.  Dumb.

Several of the hotels had beautiful trees and gingerbread houses. My husband is standing in the door so you can understand the size of this. It’s real. Those panels are all cookie. Cookies and candy and icing. Amazing.

Dave and Gingerbread house

Christmas eve, on her way to bed, Honour asked if what she was feeling was just part of growing up or if the Christmas spirit just wasn’t to be found in Qatar. Ah.

However, Santa seems to know where to find Qatar. I think he rode a camel though.

christmas tree ready

Christmas morning Jennica and Josh skyped in (it was Christmas Eve for them) and I ‘carried them’ into Honour’s room and we jumped on the bed to wake her up. Voila! The Christmas spirit was alive and well. It just needed a sister in some form to jump on the bed.

traditional xmas breaky

traditional xmas breaky at the Giesbrecht’s

The usual flurry of presents and paper and second cups of coffee and much-too-early-chocolate, and Pringles in the stockings.

Then off to lunch with our friends Darren and Larissa and Caleb. Here they are in front of another huge gingerbread house made of actual cookies.

lunch with friends xmas

Caleb was well behaved around this enormous sugary temptation. Then there’s my kid….

honour eating gingerbread house

The delicious buffet was easier for the invalid to navigate in a wheel chair. Thank you to all the young men who fell over themselves to help her.

honour xmas lunch

happy elf

Honour was Caleb’s favourite babysitter before this happened. I think she was just making sure it stayed that way….

caleb and honour

                                                                           Who can we race?

caleb and honour racing

After a long lunch (it was a buffet after all, turkey included) we played games and drank tea and visited and all those things you do at Christmas. And of course the teenager excused herself and disappeared…as they do.

Then home. Satisfied and happy the we had indeed felt the Christmas spirit, been with ‘family’, skyped, texted, checked in with some loved ones, got Christmas presents (several of which needed to be returned the next day…as you do).

And our view, as promised, courtesy of Jeff Epp.

Our View by Jeff

From our house to yours….

Merry Christmas

xmas lunch 2012


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16 responses to “Christmas in Pictures (Mostly)

  1. erika klassen

    beautiful; thankyou!

  2. Helen Giesbrecht

    oh Tracie and Dave that was so nice to read. Sounds like an alright Christmas to me. I had a sandwich while dad had his meal at the hospital,, I did get to go out though for a dinner, Went to a chinese food restaurant with Matt and Tamara, who were at the hotel, and hospital with me, and yes they had some turkey there too.

    • Pauline Brock Phibbs

      Tracy, Dave and Honour – May God bless you always with good health (or in some cases quick healing) lots more wonderful heartprints and some day in the future, a visit with your Aunt and Uncle in B.C. We had a wonderful Christmas with the kids and they are now involved in hockey tournaments and skiing at Banff and Lake Louise. Hugs to the three of you from the two of us!

      • Funny, the day before you wrote this I was looking at your pictures on Facebook of you and your family’s christmas etc and saying to Dave, I’d really like to visit them some day. Keep praying!

  3. Do those gingerbread houses smell as good as they look?
    Thanks for all the pix!! Awesome….

  4. Thanks for sharing.. Jeff’s definitely skilled at capturing the view – breathtaking. Your words bring you to us in kind of a magical way, Tracie. Tons of snow here now, but the sun is shining, making it all sparkly. I had some kind of flu bug that slowed me down just before Christmas but I managed to catch up and get my shortbreads delivered to neighbours. I met a lovely lady on our street, who is apparently all alone in the world, so we had a nice chat at the door and I’m invited to visit – I am looking forward to that and another neighbour has asked to join me when I do. Love that. And, we are looking in on another neighbours house while they’re away. Way too many ‘treats’ have been enjoyed, as usual – still wearing last years so I must get busy with a healthy plan on Jan. 2. No way I’m giving up the big hunk of Scottish Tablet (fudge) that’s awaiting me New Years Eve at a friends house. Ah well… stay well and prosper 🙂

    Linda (Terry)

  5. Lynda

    I miss you ❤

  6. Michele

    Hey Trace! Beautiful blog – I read it out loud to Mom and Dad who are here for a visit. They enjoyed seeing the pics and hearing the stories! I used to read your blog to Perry – I guess he was listening as I read it out loud to all!!! Glad you caught the spirit – we survived! On to New Year’s tomorrow night, which has never been a favourite night of mine – not sure why? Jack suggested we drive to New York – can you imagine? Only Jack! Love to you all and here’s to a healthy, happy 2013, my dear friend!
    Love, Michele and boys (Mia too)

  7. Brenda Bullivant

    Great pictures! I love reading your blog. Happy New Year !!!

  8. Carolanne Diguer and Sid Savage

    Such great pictures and stories, thank you – and such wonderful spirit of the Christmas season (great also to see sunny pics here in snowy Ottawa (40 cm).
    Proud to announce that we are new grandparents, a beautiful little boy , 3 months old on Christmas day (my step grandson) – family is ecstatic. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2013. Many (many) thanks for all the inspiring stories from your wonderful family!
    Big Hugs, Carol and Sid

    • Wow! Congratulations on the new arrival. Babies and kids really make christmas great eh?
      I’ve been hearing how cold it is there in Ottawa because a friend is moving there and not excited about the cold. haha
      Stay warm, and thanks for reading my blog.
      Happy New Year to you and Sid and your family.

  9. tammy

    Dearest Tracie….I’m a little behind on the blog reading these days, but I still have to say, even though it’s a bit late…Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hi to Dave and Honour too – glad to see that Honour’s incredible baby-sitting skills are still being put to good use! Miss you all, love and hugs,
    PS Wonderful pictures. WHAT A VIEW!!!

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