Sunday, December 25, 2011

Twas the night before Okinawian Christmas...

Twas the night before Japanese Christmas, when all through the concrete bunker,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a cicada.
The stockings were hung on the wall with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas-san soon would be there.

Zach was nestled all snug in his crib,
While visions of growing hair danced in his head.
And mamma in a kimono, and I in my giants hat,
Had just settled our brains for a long fall nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the curtains and threw up the blinds.

The moon on the breast of warm winter night
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny geckos.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick-san.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher-san! now, Dancer-san! now, Prancer-san and Vixen-san!
On, Comet-san! On, Cupid-san! on, on Donner-san and Blitzen-san!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry palm leaves that before the wild typhoon fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the bunker-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas-san too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The chirping and sneaking of each little gecko.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas san came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all worn with sun and wear.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as dark as the coal.

The stump of a cigarette he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a skinny little belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was skinny and short, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word of English, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a chirping,
And away they all slithered like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Merii Kurisumasu to all, and to all a good-night!"

I cannot lie and say this is how our christmas went, but boy does it feel like an Okinawian Christmas.  Though the weather has cooled, it is still in the mid 60's here, different from the Christmas we are used to.  There is no snow on our yard, or mittens to be worn.  Instead we don our light coats with our flip flops.  Our Houses are concrete, so we could never hear the reindeer above our roof, but instead hear the chirping of geckos in the kitchen and cicadas in the back yard.  Our santa doesn't come down the chimney, but instead comes through the unlocked back door (because who really locks their doors in okinawa?).  Though we leave him cookies, he doesn't gain a pound.  He wears fur and warm clothes, because it's "only" 68 degrees out.  We have no chimneys to hang our stockings on, but instead use what we've gathered at makeman to hang our stockings on the wall.  It's a different christmas eve in Japan, Different time zone, and sometimes it feels like a different world all together.  

This christmas eve was calm and collected.  Zach laid back and relaxed for his first christmas.

What a bum!

As part of our Stepanoff family tradition, we opened one gift on christmas eve.  Zach goes to bed early still, so it was still daylight while he opened his first ever gift.  

hmm... pretty blue paper
Making little tiny papers for Mama to clean up
Here, Neko, you help!
Open that box!
Christmas Santa pajamas!
Here Mama, I've got this down now.  Let me help you...
See, you just rip this paper up and find this neat box inside!

We all got some nice new Pajamas.  Zach got his fleece santa PJ's.  Mama got some pretty pink poinsetta cross stitched like bottoms, and Dada got some flannel NY Giants bottoms.  Per Stepanoff house rule- we MUST wear these pajamas to bed and in the morning for presents.  

Now comes the fun!  Preparing for Santa's visit tonight!  

Dima hanging our stockings with care.  
Santa is a Giants fan
Homemade christmas cookies from the 3rd Annual Stepanoff cookie decorating party.  

And now, we must sleep and wait for our jolly Japanese Santa to come with gifts.  Happy Christmas eve Okinawa!