Today is Christmas Day here in Japan already but the day goes on as usual. Children go to school (Yes! Oh Christmas Day!), Tetsu has left for work. Even I'm teaching tonight (last class. I did take Christmas Eve off to worship at the Christmas Eve service.)
Most of the kids that come for English say that they don't have a Christmas tree in their homes. That's only for families with kindergarten children and younger. Most of the kids think I'm crazy when I ask if they've bought or made any Christmas presents for their friends or family members. Christmas is for getting, not giving... well, that could be a universal child's view of Christmas. Most families probably bought a Christmas Cake last night and the younger children woke up this morning to a Christmas present set beside their pillows.
I figure that a lot of the reason the neighborhood children come to my house is to get a taste of American customs, not just to study English, so the week before Christmas I don't do so much English. For the whole month I have the kids who come read a simple advent calendar with the Christmas story in Japanese. We light an advent wreath weekly and sing an advent song in Japanese (I make the 5th and 6th graders attempt at the English but it is a bit above them.) and then I get out craft materials and we make Christmas decorations. This year's decorations were angels made of lace and Styrofoam balls and left over batting. A few years ago I bought a box of wedding ring favors in the States and the plastic/gold wedding rings make great angel halos!
Many children have passed through my home over the years. Some of them continue to develop the introduction they had to English here. Others, will tell me that they absolutely hate English and do poorly in school. Some of the kids will visit me years past, most of them won't even say hello to me on the street corner. But I hope that all of them will each year at Christmas time remember the Christmas traditions that I tried to show them in my home.