It certainly is a different experience preparing for and celebrating Christmas in Indonesia. It’s a little hard to get into the Christmas spirit when you’re sitting in 90 degree weather with sweat rolling down your back, motorcycles whizzing by your house, coconut trees standing tall in your backyard, and not even a hint of a season change. There is no indication that a season change has occurred or that Christmas is upon you. No reminders. No store discounts or people trying to sell you stuff. Everything exists pretty much the same as it did whether it’s December or not.

That’s the hard part about Christmas overseas, but also the beauty of it. It doesn’t come by default. It’s not a given. And if you do nothing at all Christmas will completely pass you by. And so you have the opportunity to make it what you want. Nobody tells you what they think it should be. Overall, I’ve really enjoyed Christmas overseas because it’s so brain-numbingly simple. Christmas overseas is without all the frills and decorations. No shopping or Santa Claus. At first I thought it would be hard to break with our traditions. But when all the things that are normally associated with Christmas are stripped away it forces you to really examine what the season is all about. And without all the distractions it’s a lot easier to get to the heart of it.

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