Hello friends and family,
It’s Christmas Eve on the ship and a combination of the heat, and none of the familiarity of traditions back home, mean it doesn’t really look a lot like Christmas as we know it. We’ve realised how much tradition plays a part in celebrating Christmas, but one of the lovely things about living on the ship is we get to celebrate traditions from all over the world including Holland, Scandinavia and Australia.
Celebrations in December started with James turning 3! We had a small party with 3 of his closest friends and had a lot of fun.
This was followed by a visit for the kids from Sinterklaas, a Dutch tradition, which James thoroughly enjoyed. He is the original Santa Claus and turned up at the ship via a Land Rover, having traveled all the way from Spain! Needless to say he had a sack full of presents for the children who apparently had been well behaved enough to receive presents, even Joseph! It really was a lovely afternoon with some children, obviously well versed in the tradition, presenting a gift to Sinterklaas before receiving theirs (gold star to those parents!).
Two of our favourite traditions on the ship are Santa Lucia, (a beautiful Scandinavian performance), and Carols by Candlelight on the Dock (apparently an Aussie tradition?!). Both include real candles and singing, what’s not to like?! Real candles aren’t allowed on the ship usually for obvious safety reasons so to be able to have them twice in the space of a week was a big deal!
One of the sad things about this season is we’ve said “Goodbye” to some dear friends, some of whom we’ve known for years. It’s a very difficult aspect of life on the ship when you connect with people on a deep level and then they leave. It’s always been a part of ship life that’s a struggle but seems even trickier now our children are affected. James was in a nursery class of three with Jack and Elle, both of whom have now sadly left, so he’ll be having some incredible individual attention from his nursery teacher in the New Year, until Joseph joins him and other children arrive later in the year.
We’ll be spending Christmas day with some good friends, opening presents and enjoying Christmas brunch lovingly prepared by our amazing galley team. One of the British families on board is hosting a Queen’s Speech tea party, which we hope to watch on YouTube! The day after Boxing Day we’re heading off to a local beach resort for 2 nights which we’re really looking forward to. It will be nice to be off ship for a short while and experience some more of this beautiful country.
So, our prayer for you all this Christmas is to experience the light of Christ in your hearts and walk in peace throughout 2017.
With much love and gratitude for walking this journey with us,
Stuart, Frances, James and Joseph.