Christmas in Phnom Penh 2010

Ewan listening to some carol singers outside Sovanna

This is our first Christmas in Phnom Penh! So what is it like? What is the same what is different and what is the same? It is strange having Christmas when it is 32 degrees outside in a country where christmas is not really celebrated…there are the obligitary tacky tinsel up in some shops and a few santas but it is essentially an imported holiday.

Sovanna Shopping Centre

It is amazing what we take for granted in the UK…being able to do Tescos delivery order to avoid shopping, getting nearly all your presents in one shop, family and friends nearby, carol services and treats on special offer.
This year Christmas crept up on me as there was not the constant reminder from shop displays, adverts and music. When you don’t have all the trappings around you get to choose what you want your Christmas to look like….  it was nice to be able to make Christams what we wanted it to be.

So what was Christmas to us? A time to share, give and spend time with family and remember Jesus who came to the world. It needed imagination and perseverance to do this and sometimes was frustrating. ithink when you don’t have things and have to work hard to get them it makes you appreciate everything so much more. There was great excitement when we found something like a nice cheese or the cranberry sauce. Having family and friends to share it with makes it so much more fun.

Here are some of our unique Phnom Penh Christmas experiences….

Lucia waiting at moto park at Russian Market

*Searching high and low in shops to find the turkey, cranberry sauce, cheese, ham, sausages and yummy things to eat. This involved going to about five different shops all around the city not knowing if you would get something even though you saw it last week.
* Shopping with my mum in the market and seeing who can get the best deal…she is a very good bargainer!
*Trailing round the hot busy Olympic market with Colin (he was not so pleased) to find the presents…took nearly 2 hours to find a Liverpool football kit for Jamie..everywhere else had Chelsea or Arsenal.
*Taking a break from Christmas shopping at Brown at a new Cambodian run coffee shop.

Colin in Browns

*Making christmas crackers from coloured tissue from the market and cereal boxes.
*Coffee cake and coffee for Christmas breakfast…my familys Christmas tradition
*Cooking an entire Christmas dinner for 12 in an oven the size of a microwave.
*Having to call out a locksmith on Christmas day because the door handle came off the door of the bedroom my parents were staying in..my dad was trapped inside!
*Making homemade Gingerbread lattes

Santa had a Korean influence this year
Christmas morning

*Having Mike and Jo (my brother and his wife) for Christmas (the first time ever)

Mike and Jo

*The church next door having a big Christmas party next door (including loudspeakers!!) just as we were serving up Christmas dinner…fortunately they stopped and ate a little bit later
*Having a Christmas service in Khmer…no carols or candles! but great food afterwards.

Jubille Family Church

*Being given curry on Christmas day by our Christian neighbours (just after we had finished Christmas dinner!!!)
*Singing Christmas carols with family and friends with the warm tropical breeze blowing through the doors.

Boys with boys toys!

My brother did a reading at the end of Christmas day about how we as people come in packaging. Some have nice pretty ribbons and paper but others sometimes have torn paper or are damaged or broken. WE should not look at the outside but inside and see the true gift of the person inside. The person who Jesus sees and the reason why there is a Christmas to celebrate.

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2 thoughts on “Christmas in Phnom Penh 2010

  1. love the picture of ewan listening to the carol singing. Didn't realise you had a saunders blog – have just enjoyed looking through your life in cambodia. Have a very happy new year (cambodia style!) xx

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