our tropical Christmas- a tour and link up

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saipan christmas tourY’all, I am so excited to share a little glimpse of our tropical Christmas today (and I can’t wait to see your Christmases as well!). Especially since this year’s Christmas looks a little different than our holidays in years past. In fact, if I had to describe our December so far in three words, they’d be tropical, relaxed and untraditional.

saipan christmas tourTo lay a little groundwork, I thought I’d start with a little Saipan-in-December tour. If you’ve never done winter on a tropical island (I’d guess that’s almost all of you- and we’re rookies too!), let me tell you, it’s the weirdest feeling ever. I keep trying to convince my body that it’s the holidays, but nothing is working… not constant Christmas music, not the lovely smell of evergreen candles (both of which are a daily occurrence)! Even celebrating Thanksgiving, which should’ve jump started things, didn’t do the trick. Since most of our traditions are a little out of reach this year, we’re trying to ‘make new memories.’ That translates into a whole December of snorkeling, beaching and pool days. Like I said, it’s been a month of untraditional (and relaxation).

saipan_christmasThe other most notable thing about Christmas in Saipan is that the politically correct transition to “Happy Holidays” hasn’t taken root here. Nativities are considered completely normal commercial holiday decor, and Burke’s class is singing Silent Night, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, O Little Town of Bethlehem and Joy to the World for the school Christmas program (it’s not a Christian school).

spam tree saipanAlso, there is a Christmas Tree o’ Spam at the local grocery store. Yep. There sure is.

saipan christmas tourOur decorations this year are also… well, beach-y and sparse are the best descriptors. Since we didn’t bring a single Christmas item with us when we moved here in June, every item of decor has been either purchased or created in the last few weeks.

saipan christmas tourI must admit, I pretty much love our gold tree with neutral ornaments (we collected drift wood, sea shells and coral to adorn the tree and picked up a couple boxes of metallic ornaments in Hong Kong last month). I’ve never had an all-the-way coordinated tree before. It’s kind of fun. The rest of our extra-sparse decor is also shimmery (most of it is recycled from Piper’s Sparkle Party– haha!).

saipan christmas tourAlso, lest you think that our presents are all perfectly coordinated, there is a pile of not-metallic, Amazon-wrapped gifts tucked in the back of the tree. Haha!

saipan christmas tourWe also made an advent countdown and some Names of God ornaments. Since our schedule is extra wide open this year, we also added in a more time intensive nightly devotional of Jesus Storybook Bible stories to match the ornaments. All four of us are loving the extra chance to focus on ‘preparing Him room.’ Even though we’ve totally dropped the ball several times already, I love the nights when we remember to add in this old-plus-new tradition.

saipan christmas tourThis holiday season really has been such a weird mix- we miss our families and winter and ALL of the Christmas things from home… and at the same time we’re loving the wide open schedule and mild weather and excess of family time. Most of all, though, I am trying to remind my heart at every turn that whether our Christmas is white and mountain-y and chaotic or mellow and beachy and tropical, this celebration of God sending his Son (his SON!) as a baby to redeem us is beyond worthy of my rapt attention… and in the nooks and crannies and wide open spaces of December, I am purposing to turn my heart towards Him in thanksgiving!

Sharing Christmas 2014

mary evelyn : what do you do dear  |  kacia : coconutrobot | shannon : the scribble pad
rachael : kincaid parade  | kristi : and babies don’t keep  |  heather boersma

Be sure to go say hi as my lovely co-hostesses share the sights and sounds and smells and traditions and vibes of their Christmases this year. And if you have a chance to snap a few pictures and share your Christmas (even just your advent activities or your favorite tradition or your Christmas tree), please take a minute to link up! We’d love to see how you’re celebrating this year! Happy Christmas, friends!

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  1. Your holiday season sounds like it is shaping up wonderfully! What a neat, unique experience. Your decor is perfect and that SPAM tree is hiliarious! hahaha. Confession…I actually like SPAM. My husband hates it though, so I haven’t had it in like 15 years.

    1. It has been a fun (and funny) month! And, really? You like SPAM? I will be honest- I don’t know if I’ve ever even tried it. It is a BIG deal here though. 😉 Come on over and visit! 😉

  2. Yours has to be the most unique Christmas on the tour yet! Here I am sharing about dreaming of a white Christmas, and you are decorating your tree with all things beach-y… I love it! That bunting across the window is darling, too. If you need to see a little snow, come on over for a virtual visit. I’m off to read more about what landed you in this tropical paradise. Merry Christmas!

    1. Nicole- I am sort of dreaming of a white Christmas as well- haha! 😉
      And you might’ve found the post, but my husband is a dentist and is working at the hospital here in Saipan. It’s been a hilarious, wild ride. And so great for our little family too! 😉 Off to check out your snow.

  3. Kirsten, as usual you have made me laugh and brought a couple of tears too! Robbie explained the island Spam tree and brought Spam ornaments for each family in our Sunday school class. (Love that man and his love of Christmas!) We loved the abundance of family time on Saipan too – one of God’s many gifts to us there. And I love your tree, as well as your advent calendar idea. For those of us who are not crafty but would like to be, you are a role model! Hope the rest of your holiday season is blessed. Love to your sweet family – miss you and the Bible study girls. I will be sending some materials for you all soon!

    1. Lori, so fun to see your name pop up on here!
      And, oh goodness, the Spam tree. It’s still up- haha! I love it that Robbie brought home the Spam ornaments!
      I will say that now that Christmas itself is over (and with it, the ever-so-homesick, wishing-for-snow part), we are seriously LOVING Christmas break in the tropics! I’m not a huge fan of winter, so three weeks with the kids to snorkel and pool and hike and lounge is pretty much perfection.
      So fun to see on Facebook that you are settling in just swimmingly and loving all of your family/friend time! Miss you!

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