Christmas around the world. What does Christmas look like in your home?
One of the things that make Lifehouse special is our international flavour. We are a community made up of beautiful and diverse people from Japan and nations around the world, all with unique cultures and traditions.
With Christmas just around the corner we wanted to ask a few Lifehouser’s to share how they celebrate Christmas.
The Blakely Family
We are an international family, with my husband being a New Zealander and myself being Japanese. We follow my husband’s hometown traditions at Christmas, by opening presents on Christmas morning and enjoying grapes, strawberries and chocolate almonds. On Christmas, we have a huge celebration with our fellow church members and at night we celebrate at home with a delicious strawberry and cream Christmas cake. After that, we have a family movie night! We watch Christmas movies and let the kids stay up late for this special occasion. Winter might be cold but we want to continue making heart-warming Christmas memories.
As an Australian living in Japan (for almost 7 years now!), what gives me absolute joy is being able to celebrate Christmas with my two families: my natural family back in Australia on Christmas Day, and in the lead-up to Christmas with my Lifehouse family! In the first few weeks of December, some traditions have been firmly established: multiple Christmas house parties with friends, checking out the incredible illuminations and Christmas markets across the city, and invariably dressing up as Santa on at least one occasion during the season. I then hop on a plane a few days before Christmas and return to the December warmth of the Gold Coast, where I am able to spend time my wonderful family, who have been nothing but supportive of me building a life in the city I now call home – Tokyo!
The Bernd Family
One Christmas tradition that our family enjoys is the Advent Calendar. Every night in December our children take turns opening a door to our wooden “Manger Scene” Advent Calendar. Inside each door is a paper saying which chapter of the “The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name” we will read that night. This kid-friendly Bible has 21 stories, from the time leading up to and including the birth of Jesus. This helps our family to reflect and prepare our hearts for the celebration of the Savior’s birth. After we read a chapter together, the child who opened the door of the calendar gets a clue that will leads to chocolate treats which the children share and enjoy. On December 24th, the kids are each given cozy Christmas pajamas that they wear on Christmas morning as we open presents together.
Adrian & Catherine van Zyl
After going to a Christmas service at the church, our family enjoys a big feast, where everyone brings something special to share and enjoy. One of our favorite traditions is taking a crazy Christmas picture. Each year the picture gets a little more crazy. It’s such a fun way to make good memories.
The Silang Family
In the Philippines, the Christmas season starts as early as September. People start decorating their homes with hanging lanterns (Parol) and Christmas lights. We also have our version of Kris Kringle “Monito-Monita” – a gift exchange time. Kids love this time as they receive either cash gifts or some goodies from their loved ones godparents (ninong and ninangs) for their Aguinaldo or Pamasko (Christmas present). Christmas wouldn’t be complete without sumptuous dinner and the family members gather as they enjoy dinner at twilight on December 25th — the Noche Buena. Our family loves to do different things on Christmas Day. We sometimes travel, stay in the hotel, go shopping, and many more. We don’t stick doing the same things every year, but one thing for sure, we make sure that we spend quality time together as a family and remind our children what we are celebrating – The Birth of Jesus!Whatever your Christmas traditions – we would love to invite you to join in the Lifehouse celebrations over the Christmas and New Year season. Everyone is welcome! You can check our website or social media for more details.