Friday, February 11, 2011

Christmas in Portugal

This post is long overdue, but with all of our traveling these past few weeks (we have been in the U.S. since the beginning of January, but will be returning to Portugal soon), it has been difficult to find either the time or the motivation to blog. As a way of "catching up," I thought I would post a few snapshots that capture how we celebrated Christmas in Portugal this year.

Interestingly, our family has now celebrated Christmasses on 4 continents! And, although this was not our first Christmas overseas, far from our families, it was our first Christmas abroad since our kids were born. So, we focused on beginning some of our own holiday-related traditions, and of course we tried to make the most of our "European Christmas," since it will likely be our only one!

We kicked off the month of December with a cookie decorating party for all the team kiddos.

Everyone got a big Christmas tree to decorate.

Stephen just wanted to eat his cookie!

We went to the zoo one Sunday after church to see Pai Natal (aka Santa Claus), and Alex had his face painted.

And Biruk and Efesson had their faces painted too!

After spending the afternoon at the zoo, we enjoyed some of the Christmas lights in downtown Lisbon before heading home.

Rossio Square

Every street had some sort of lighted display.

Carousel ride in Rossio Square

Alex had a school Christmas party one Saturday.

And that same day, there was a Christmas party in the evening at the Lisbon Church. Alex's Sunday School class did a reenactment of the birth of Jesus. Alex was one of the wise men.

We had a yummy dinner, and a table full of delectable desserts. In the front is Jesus' birthday cake. It was topped with sparklers that they lit as the grand finale to the evening!

We invited Jordan to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our family this year. She helped Alex decorate his gingerbread house.

And here is the finished product. Obviously, we let him have a lot of creative license. (By the way, he aquired the big bruise in the middle of his forhead when he walked into a pole on the street because he wasn't watching where he was going.)

Watching "The Polar Express" before bed. Our friend Regina also joined us for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year.

Opening stockings on Christmas morning.

Alex got a new raincoat and some rain boots for Christmas this year. He was so excited to wear his new gear to walk to school!

Christmas Dinner with the Reeses, Jordan, Regina, and another friend, Linda. It took some work, and some creative thinking on my husband's part, but we were able to cram all of us into our tiny kitchen around an actual table for a nice sit-down meal of roast lamb, mashed potatoes, spiced peaches, and all the other trimmings!

All in all, a very Merry Christmas!