We had a beautiful Christmas Day in Ho Chi Minh City. We were staying at the home of our friends from Saigon Street Eats, and shared the morning with them and their 4 year old daughter.
We don’t “do” Santa, which a lot of our friends and family likely huff and scoff about behind our backs. Coming from our retail and sales background, we are not sold on the consumerism behind the mass-marketed Christmas theme, and decided years ago we wanted to celebrate Christmas with a Christ-centered focus, and give the best Christmas presents that life can buy (I’ll give you a hint…they’re not the gifts under a tree).
The kids had a great Christmas with their simple collection of gifts. The girls each got a couple of miniature dolls (we really didn’t have the room for big Barbies).
Ethan got a new shirt, much-needed shoes (since his others were eaten in the escalator), and a bilingual Vietnamese picture book. If only we knew how to read it to him…I think he’d be speaking Vietnamese in no time!
The girls also got new matching dresses. The dresses they’d been wearing to church were getting quite scraggly, so I wanted a dress that was nice enough for church, and yet not too dressy that they couldn’t wear it out to play. Success!
Ella got a new purse that we picked up at the Christmas Festival that we went to a few days earlier. Finally, something she could carry her camera in!
After hanging around the house and letting the kids play with their new goodies with their friend, Poppy, we took off for a Christmas lunch at the Snap Café. We went with our friends, who also met up with Ayeshah, a former media star of Pakistan who now lives in Ho Chi Minh with her two beautiful daughters and husband. We had a great lunch in the open-air setting while the kids ignored us and played in the large outdoor playground and sand pit behind us.
They were happy, which meant we were happy!
In the Christmas spirit I got a holiday sandwich…a big chunk of bread topped with turkey and stuffing, with a smattering of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce on the side. It wasn’t awesome…but hey…it worked.
Jared got what he tries pretty much anywhere he can: nachos
He is basically disappointed anywhere outside of the US.
Here we are with Barbara, Vu and Poppy (of Saigon Street Eats)!
After lunch, we took a taxi cab to the far outskirts of town where an American family had kindly invited us to their home for Christmas dinner (another one of the perks of meeting people at church while traveling!). We weren’t ready to eat quite yet…but they invited us to come early and swim!
I don’t think I’ve ever been swimming on Christmas day, that I can remember!
Back at the family’s home, they were preparing a truckload of food to feed our family, their family (with 5 kids), and about 8 Vietnamese guests they had invited over.
After our pitiful Thanksgiving meal in Chiang Mai, Thailand, our mouths were drooling over the immense amounts of traditional foods that we had missed this holiday season!
Jared helped carve the turkey!
It felt as American as it could get…loads of food, that couldn’t possibly be consumed in one evening, lined the counters! Corn bread stuffing, rolls, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, salads, turkey, etc.
Everyone chipped in while the kids played to their heart’s content.
On the other side of the kitchen the Vietnamese food was prepared by the Vietnamese guests. Spring Rolls and the most delicious sweet curry ever!
In Vietnam they only seem to have one popular curry—this sweet yellow one. This particular recipe was mouth-watering, and I wish I had asked for the recipe (but I fear the maker didn’t speak English)!
After we had eaten more than was humanly possible (and then some)…our hosts broke out homemade pies and ice cream!
It was such a glorious day! How wonderful to be on the other side of the world and enjoy some of the creature comforts and traditions of home! After being on the road for nearly 6 months, it was a real treat!
We are so grateful to have wonderful hosts to stay and spend our morning with, as well as our other hosts from church who were kind enough to open their arms to our family, and let us join in their evening festivities and feast!
We will not forget this wonderful Christmas!