Ten writers for children. All with something to say.

12/7/09

Christmas traditions




Decorating for Christmas at our house means bringing out ornaments and decorations we've gathered over the past twenty years. It is always fun to open up the boxes as they get dragged out of their storage spots, and reconnect with the holiday things we only see once a year. I think the one I look forward to the most is the carved Nativity scene I got in December 1990, when we were Peace Corps volunteers in Tanzania. At the carver's market in Dar es Salaam, I traded my pair of Nike running shoes, quite well worn, for the set. I think both the carver and I thought we got the better part of the bargain. I know I did, because I couldn't imagine our house for Christmas without seeing these figures up.
I hope all of you have a lovely holiday season!


7 comments:

David LaRochelle said...

What a great story, and a great memory, to go along with the Nativity set, Stephanie! In my mind I picture you walking home barefoot after making the trade; was this the case?

john said...

Beautiful story, Stephanie, and what a beautiful set. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Edie said...

What a beautiful carved Nativity scene! I can see why you treasure it. The sign of a good negotiation is when both parties think they got the better part of the bargain. This sounds like it has the makings of another "O'Henry" Christmas story.

Christy said...

Is this near the market where Obedi started walking?

Sometimes I am very attached to things--ones that like your Nativity scene, transport me to a special time and place in your life. Then the objects become a physical manifestation of something much more spiritual. What a rich and life changing experience you and your husband had in Tanzania. I'm glad you have the ritual of pulling out the Nativity scene and reconnecting year after year.

Lauren said...

Stephanie, I too love hauling the decorations up from the basement every year-- and every thing in those seasonal boxes has a story. I remember the Christmas after my mom died, I took a photo of each of the ornaments she had given to me through the years and to my kids and then I wrote the story for each one.
You definitely got the better end of the deal with the Nativity set, though I had a sudden vision of the trader pulling out your running shoes every year to put on display and it made me smile.

Stephanie said...

I actually didn't wear my running shoes that much, I lived in a pair of hiking boots. We also traded our short wave radio for a five foot tall Masai statue which is part of our year-round decor. We'll never make it into House Beautiful, but you can tell where we've lived...

Anonymous said...

I would bet that some village kid/s are stilling wearing those Nikes or at least part of them. Great story!