Today I am off to Luxembourg for the upcoming holiday celebrations and for you I have got a special treat! I am sending you off to Senegal!
Vanessa is telling us about her family traditions and the life as an expat in West Africa.
Your name / where are from / where do you live ?
My name is Vanessa. I’m French but part of my family is English, my husband is half French- half Swiss and if you ask my eldest son, he is « multicultural » (French, Thai, Lao and Senegalese !) ; We’ve been away from France for 9 years now and after a few years in South-East Asia, our new home is Dakar, Senegal.
Your kid’s name and age ?
I have two playful and mischievous boys: Thomas 5 years old and Maxime, one year and a half.
Tell me about your personal BEST-OF the Holiday season?
I love eveything about this season… We usually have 25°C in december so the Christmas magic is not the same and is defenitively not as beautiful as in Europe ; we try to do our best to ensure the traditions and to instill a nice Xmas spirit in our home. My favourite moments are the tree decoration with the kids (my eldest decorated the tree proudly all by himself this year) and seeing the sparkling eyes of my two boys in front of the Advent calendar every morning.
How do you celebrate the holidays? How do they celebrate the holidays differently where you live now than when you grew up than where you live today?
Our families are scattered all around the globe so it is very difficult to keep the traditionnal Xmas eve’s diner alive ; We usually stay together on the 24th, waiting for Santa with a good meal, and we gather with friends on the 25th.
Living in a Muslim country right now, you can sense that the Xmas’ feeling is really not the same ; People here only enjoy the day off to party with friends but they don’t really do something special…It is a bit sad to see that only a few shops care to put on Xmas decoration (really expensive here anyway), there is no special Christmas lights and Santa looks a bit peculiar wearing flip-flops and a red short !
Do you create any new traditions with your partner and kids?
More than create new traditions, we try to bring them back alive. Since we had our children, Christmas has become again a big event in the year. We have the classical French traditions like the Advent calendar, the decorations, cooking cookies, talking about Santa… Moreover, everyday, we read stories about how people celebrate Xmas all around the world and we learn carols from different countries : French and English of course but also Asian or Senegalese ones. Kids love that and they both have their favourites ones. Finally, we try to do as much DIY as possible : it’s always fun and a nice time to spend with the boys.
Do you plan any kids specials for the holidays ?
Spending time together as a family, laughing, playing, dreaming, singing, having fun !
May I have a sneak preview of your tree / decoration ? (photo)
I try to keep the decorations pretty traditional for the kids : red and green but with ornaments gathered all around the world ; We also have a lot of fun putting up with new ideas like decorating a palm tree in the garden or drawing a pinetree with masking tape in our entrance.
What do your kids wish for from Santa ?
Thomas is very curious about all the countries in the world as he had traveled a lot already ; He is gonna have some books (and an Atlas), an Earth Globe and a container ship from Playmobil…Maybe a few Lego Star-Wars if he well-behaves !
Maxime loves cars and animals : he’s gonna have some books, a few plastic animals and a Barbapapa radio car.
and what do YOU wish for ? (a gift suggestion for grown-ups ) ?
nothing really, maybe more time for my husband and I as a couple !
My father is always telling me : « carpe diem » and « do not wish for anything, be curious and just try to enjoy as much as possible every happy moments »…I think it is a good way of seeing life and i try my best to pass it on to my children.
Thank you Vanessa! Have a wonderful Christmas!