November 21, 2013
Christmas in Italy is a little different. At home in Utah, we never turned the lights on the tree until after Thanksgiving. Italy doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving so Christmas decorations are already showing up everywhere. In fact, I've seen two purple trees for sale already. My granddaughter would love that since purple is her favorite color.
Some of the elders came to the villa one morning for a meeting and then stayed long enough to help assemble the Christmas tree and string the lights on it. A couple of days later, two of the sisters came to the villa on their P-day and helped decorate it. Voila! Now we're all ready for Christmas--although I'm not really sure what it will be like this year with no family here.
Like all missionaries, I'm a little nostalgic right now. In the past, we have always done the Twelve Days of Christmas for someone. This year we will be doing another round of zone conferences and will hardly even be in Rome at all this month. When I was still at home, my favorite thing to do for Christmas actually began long before Christmas. Each year Michael and I gave each of our children and their families an "advent basket". It contained a family gift for every day beginning on Thanksgiving night and ending on Christmas Eve. Each day they got to choose a gift to open. I loved it when my grandchildren called and said "Nana, we opened ____________ today". It was the highlight of my day to hear the excitement in their voices.
This year we have nearly 200 missionaries to love and care for, but I still miss my own children and grandchildren.