Today, the kids played Santa and his elves. They delivered plates of homemade goodies to our neighbors (red plates with Santa napkins decorating them).
"Today?" you say. Yes, today. Because, you see, in the Middle East a holiday starts the day of the holiday but extends past the day itself 3-5 days. Basically, the opposite of Western tradition of the season leading up to the day and ending on the calendar day.
I love it, because it means we prepare ourselves and our family (with Advent and shopping and gift unwrapping, etc.) in the days leading up to Christmas. We celebrate with our ex-pat friends the day of. And then we host guests and deliver presents and treats to our local friends and neighbors afterwards.
It spreads the season (read: the busyness) out perfectly.