Day 12 - Did You Know Christmas is Celebrated Secretly in Saudi Arabia?

As a little girl who grew up in Saudi Arabia, Christmas season has always been tricky. Christmas trees, carols or lights were nowhere to be found. I remember my parents scouting multiple stores for any Christmas decorations sold discreetly. Even if they found any, quantities were extremely limited.

For ten years, our Christmas tree has been a variety of fake giant indoor plants which we decorate with anything we could hang on it. We glued cotton balls together to create a fake snow blanket covering the pot.  Christmas songs played in constant rotation from September onwards. The songs were from CDs and cassette tapes that were given to us by friends who expertly hid them in their suitcases away from the prying eyes of airport security personnel upon their return from trips outside the Middle East. 

The Christmas season starts early in our family. There were no lineups for a picture with Santa in the mall, no Christmas stockings to fill up with goodies and no Christmas lights to wrap around the house.

Over the years I have moved across continents and am currently living in Toronto. It is remarkable how the Christmas season pretty much morphed into an industry of its own on this side of the world.

It is an amazing experience to be able to take part in all the festivities but one is also prone to losing touch with what Christmas really means. Looking back, those 10 Christmases I have spent in the Middle East resonated the true meaning of the season.

I do believe that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Christmas but I know that even if the snow, Santa, the big tree and the gifts were taken away from me, I still have a reason to celebrate. 

Christmas was never about any of those anyway—it has always been about Jesus. And no one can stop me from celebrating His glory.

Jessica Salvador, Associate at Kensington Capital Partners Limited

Precious memories are worth celebrating. Let us not forget those with Alzheimer's or other dementias who suffer from a loss of memory. For more information, visit the Alzheimer Society of Toronto.

Why do you celebrate Christmas? Let us know by commenting below!


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