Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lilly's First Christmas in America

I've had a lot of friends ask me about Lilly's first Christmas with our family. We thought it would be nice to include any tradition she may have had in Ghana for Christmas, but when we asked her what she did on Christmas in Ghana, she said they did nothing. She is starting to forget many things about her life in Ghana, so we weren't sure if she has forgotten or if Christmas was just like any other day for her. To give her something Ghanaian at Christmas time, we made bracelets out of the beads I purchased in Ghana for all of the girls' teachers. They turned out really pretty.

No Christmas in Salt Lake City is complete without a visit to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights. It was cold and crowded, but very enjoyable, especially to a girl who has never seen so much electricity used in one place.

Our other girls took care of giving her the 411 on Santa. They taught her the words to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and would sing it anytime they thought she was doing something she shouldn't be doing. Lilly quickly picked up on this and it became the "tattle-tale" song of the season.

We took Lilly to sit on Santa's lap and she wasn't afraid or shy at all. She asked for a bubble gum machine. Madison wanted Pixos. Sierra asked for Buzz and Woody and Savannah also wanted a bubble gum machine.

Madison who is 10 and still a believer, asked me one day why Santa didn't take toys to the children at the orphanage. She had a party at school and they had discussed Christmas traditions in various countries. So I told her that they don't celebrate Christmas with Santa in Ghana. But I just couldn't get her question out of my mind. I kept thinking about how deserving of toys the children of Luckyhill are. When Lilly first came here, she didn't really even know how to play with toys. But toys have helped her develop her creativity and imagination so much in this short time. I wish I could send a toy for each child at Luckyhill. At our home, we are blessed enough to have everything we need and can afford to give into the wants we all have from time to time. At Luckyhill, the needs of the children are not always met, so the wants aren't even discussed. It made me feel conflicted about Christmas.

We enjoyed the break from school and were able to do some acts of service and we tried to help the children understand the true reason for Christmas. We always read the Christmas story from the Bible. Our ward Christmas party focused on the spiritual nature of Christmas. We reserve a special place in our living room for nativities. I was glad to have 2 nativities from Ghana to display.

Christmas Eve was exciting for the kids. They got presents left at the door by Rudolf (pajamas and slippers), so they knew it was time to go to bed, Santa was on his way.

It was fun for Steve and I to watch the magic Christmas morning. The kids loved their gifts from Santa and played and got along so well with each other. Lilly got a makeup kit, with mostly lip gloss in it (because she loves being a girl). She was so good about sharing it with Savannah, who is another princess. I wish I had the before picture of Lilly and Savannah smearing lip gloss all over their faces like it was foundation. I only have the after picture of Savannah trying to get it off before anyone notices.

I think Lilly was a bit overwhelmed on Christmas day. She loved it, but it was a lot to take in. She had a bit of a melt down when she opened a gift from Grandma. She got this really neat glow-in-the dark art set. Madison got Pixos. Lilly decided she also wanted Pixos and began crying (we call it the death wail) and throwing her art set around. I tried to see this from her perspective. She has never had gifts given to her like this and so she hasn't grown up accustom to it. I took her to my room and we talked about how she was feeling. We talked about gratitude and how Grandma may feel right now. I explained that she knows what Pixos are, but she doesn't know how fun her gift is because she has never seen something like it before. She calmed down and we gathered it all together and figured out how to make the light work and of course she loved it. She apologized to Grandma and thanked her for the gift.

Lilly really has come such a long way in a short amount of time. She has had to improve a secondary language, adapt to a new culture, blend into a new family as a middle child, and learn new rules. Nothing in her life now is like it was in Ghana, except for the occasional chicken and rice for dinner (with an American flare). She is one remarkable, adaptable little girl that we love more and more each day!


Kara Busath said...

I thought about Lilly and your family this Christmas. It was exactly one year ago that I met you in Jessica's ward right after Lilly came home. She has grown so much. I love following your neat family through your blog.

FullPlateMom said...

I love seeing Lilly grow, both in height and as a member of the Emmett Family. She looks very happy, as if she feels very much a part of the family. It gives me so much hope for us, that one day all seven of my kids will feel the way she looks!

I love the bracelets too, I'll have to remember that for when I go to ghana.

The Hermyzoo! said...

I love the bracelets! I really enjoyed reading and looking at all the pictures. I love the one with them all in their jammies and slippers! Glad you had a good Christmas.


That was a fun post. I can relate to quiet a few of your experiences. You are such an awesome family!

Terry Broadbent said...


This is a great post. Thanks for sharing these intimate details. It shows how much heart you and Steve have. Your daughters are truly blessed and so are you to have such a precious family.