Christian Village hosts “Christmas around the world” open house

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[December 05, 2016]  LINCOLN - On Friday evening, the Christian Village hosted a special open house featuring different displays of how Christmas is celebrated in various countries around the world. Displays were set up in the Congregate Living Building, the Grace Point Rehab-to-Home Center, and the Woods Foundation Garden Villa assisted living center.

The tour began in the Congregate Building with a trip to France. Inside the front door, tourists were greeted with an opportunity to enjoy some French sweets. A variety of chocolate crepe cookies were served with non-alcoholic sparkling drinks representing the rich heritage of the French winemakers.

The highlight of the tour included more than 60 Nativity scenes in different varieties and some from other countries or regions of the United States. It was explained that in France, there are no Christmas trees decorated for the holiday season. Instead, the French honor Christ and Christmas through the Nativity.

Moving on, multiple countries were represented in the Grace Point Building. The first stop there was Australia. It is summer in December in the bottom portion of our world, so Christmas is celebrated in very warm weather. Instead of snow and skies, the fun activity in that country includes water and surfboards. The hostess for the country was inviting everyone to try a piece or two of “Aussie Gum.” The Australian chewing gum, she said has a taste of sweet bubble gum, and is really quite good.

The next country tourists could visit was Germany. In Germany, the hostess explained, there is an age-old tradition of finding the pickle in the tree. On Christmas morning a pickle is hidden in the Christmas tree. When children rise, they are tasked with finding the green pickle in the green tree. The child who finds the pickle gets to be the first one to open a gift.

Another Christmas day tradition is Stollen, a Christmas fruit bread. That delicious bread was being served to tourists on Friday evening at the German stop.

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In Mexico, Christmas is bright and beautiful with lots of color and plenty of sweets. At the Mexico station, the hostess explained that Christmas trees are often decorated with the red leafed poinsettia. She said the traditional story goes that when Christ was born, and child wanted to bring a gift to the baby Jesus, but had nothing to give. Digging about among some weeds, the child found the brightly colored red poinsettias, and chose to pluck it up and take it to the Christ Child.

The last stop would be at the Garden Villa, for a traditional Christmas in America. There the highlight of the evening was a chance to visit Santa. Santa sat in a large chair next to a special Christmas tree. He explained that the tree was decorated completely in snowmen, and was extra special because every ornament on the tree had been given to the Christian Village as a keepsake.

There was also a large variety of cookies for tourists to enjoy along with hot chocolate.

Along their way, tourists were given passports to have stamped in each country. At the end of the tour, the passports were to be returned and exchanged for a special Christmas gift; all making for a special memorable experience of Christmas around the world.

[Nila Smith]

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