Last Christmas was our first Christmas overseas. After just two months in Kazakhstan we moved to Kyrgyzstan the week of Christmas. We had bought Christmas stockings in Kazakhstan and I had a nativity set that I brought from the states. But that was the extent of our holiday decorations. I desperately wanted a Christmas tree. Christmas is not widely celebrated in the former Soviet Union, but they do have Christmas trees as New Year decorations. I thought a tree might be available, but I didn’t know how I was going to get one.
As if she was sent by Jolly Ole Saint Nick himself, my new friend LaVena offered to help me find a tree to spread the Christmas cheer in our new home. We headed off to the bazaar. LaVena had seen the Christmas trees at the bazaar just days before so she knew exactly where to go. We found the Christmas trees, lights, and ornaments. I picked out a tree, some colored musical lights and ornaments. The seller put the tree in a large trash bag and we maneuvered our way out of the narrow walkways of the bazaar, trying our best not to snag other shoppers with our find. We decided to get a taxi back instead of pricking the passengers on a crowded bus.
We got the tree home and my daughter had a blast decorating it. I didn’t matter that the tree was small, the musical lights only half-way worked, or that I had not bought enough ornaments to cover even a quarter of the tree. We had a Christmas tree! It was a success and I am forever grateful to LaVena for making our first Christmas overseas that much brighter!