Panettone, Tex Mex and Red Wine

We went home to Houston for the holidays this year.  After spending 2 Christmases in Dubai, it was fun to reconnect to those Christmas traditions you take for granted while living there.  I didn’t realize how much I missed things like seeing pretty little girls in festive Christmas dresses or admiring those old, familiar ornaments on my parents’ Christmas tree.  There were other things I knew I missed and was anxious to share them with the kids.  Obviously, quality time with the family tops the list.  Seeing your children watch your mother make your grandmother’s apple strudel from scratch is something you just can’t recreate when you’re far away.

One of the things I missed in Dubai - admiring twinkling Christmas lights on cozy looking houses.  We Texans never miss a chance to throw in a shout out to our beloved state, do we? Ha!

One of the things I missed in Dubai – admiring twinkling Christmas lights on cozy looking houses. We Texans never miss a chance to throw in a shout out to our beloved state, do we? Ha!

Visiting Target and its never-ending Christmas aisles was quite an experience.  Wow.  I had forgotten how over-the-top and commercial Christmas can get.  The baking goodies! The wrapping and bows! The decorations!  The ornaments and serving platters and towels and candy and and and!  Normally, this kind of thing would make me feel a little disgusted.  But, after being away from it all for a couple of years, I have to admit I got a little giddy when I saw the sheer vastness of the selection.  Even though there are plenty of Christmas items available in Dubai (as I mentioned in last year’s post), the variety and abundance obviously can’t compete with back home, and prices soar as retailers take advantage of expats aching to create an “authentic” Christmas vibe in their homes.

But Target wasn’t the only one guilty of gluttony.  As much as I love them, the amount of panettone, tex mex and red wine I consumed was, by the end of the trip, gag-inducing.  And then there was the mountain of things we had to bring home including things like Christmas presents and groceries I can’t find in Dubai.  But honestly, this looks just ridiculous, doesn’t it?  Who needs this much stuff?

The joy of traveling with 3 children around the holidays.  This doesn't even include the 2 car seats, pack n' play and stroller we also brought along.  Thank goodness for Emirates' generous baggage allowance and my dad's awesome, huge, throw-everything-in-the-back pick-up truck.

The joy of traveling with 3 children around the holidays. This doesn’t even include the 2 car seats, pack n’ play and stroller we also brought along. Thank goodness for Emirates’ generous baggage allowance and my dad’s awesome, huge, throw-everything-in-the-back pick-up truck.

So now that we are home and suffering from jet lag, it’s a good time to think up to-do lists at 3:30 a.m.  Start diet.  Start exercising.  Clean out toy boxes.  Clean out closets.  Clean out kitchen cupboards. Throw away. Give away. Reduce. Organize.  Even though you want to cling to the family you left behind, Christmas has a powerful way of making you want to shed the excess of the holidays, be they pounds or household items, doesn’t it?  So here’s to a fresh start! Happy New Year everyone!

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About Lynda

Longhorns and Camels is a blog about exploring Dubai from the perspective of an expat from Texas. It features stories about living in Dubai including descriptions of local culture and popular activities in the region. It also includes photography of the UAE and other countries abroad. It has been recommended by several well-known guides for expatriates: InterNations, ExpatWoman and Expat Focus.
This entry was posted in Day-to-day living in Dubai, Texas, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Panettone, Tex Mex and Red Wine

  1. Judy says:

    Wow, I just can’t imagine hauling all that lot through an airport. Thank goodness we only have a small family. Glad you had such a great time. I agree Christmas away from home just isn’t the same (even though it can still be good).

    • Where there’s a will, there’s a way. (usually, I have the will and my husband has the way, ha ha). This time around, unpacking it all was worse than getting it through the airport. Happy that’s all behind us now.

  2. I spent Christmas home in Halifax (actually I’m here for one more day) and I came with only a carry-on knowing I could borrow warm clothes from my sister and my mom! They gave me grief because it made it difficult for them to buy anything other than ‘another pair of earrings’ (i.e. something small enough to take back)! Truly, being with family was gift enough 🙂 Happy New Year!

    • What?! One carry-on? You’re my hero! Seriously though – isn’t it liberating to travel light? My husband would love you. 🙂 Safe travels back home. Ps – are you going to make snow angels again? 🙂

  3. Rob Moses says:

    Cool Texas light! 🙂

  4. That + 3 kids? You are very brave 🙂

  5. Tami says:

    We’re heading back to Texas for the first time in over a year. I have every intention of eating myself sick on fajitas & tortillas.

    • Hi there. Thanks for stopping by! Oh I’m so jealous. It took about 5 minutes to get over my “I ate too much Mexican food” state of misery and now I miss it again. Eat some fajitas for me and have a great trip!

  6. Lisa Seale says:

    I am enjoying your blog as I prepare to leave my little farm house in East texas to join my husband in Dubai. Any advice as I prepare to ship household items over is greatly appreciated!

    • Thank you so much! Congrats on the move – you’re in for an adventure. 🙂 Please feel free to email me any time with questions longhornsandcamels@gmail.com I’m trying to think of tips on what to bring but for some reason am drawing a blank. One thing I regret leaving at home is all of my books. I thought they may get censored. ha! They sell 50 Shades of Gray here so I can’t imagine what would be confiscated. (Unless you happen to have a lot of anti-Islamic literature or something, which I doubt is the case. 🙂 ) Please email me if you have more specific questions and good luck!

      • Another thing – if you have time you should stock up on clothes, shoes, socks, underwear etc for the family. We have all the same stores here for the most part but things are usually quite a bit more expensive. Gift wrap and greeting cards are also really expensive here. (on my mind b/c we just celebrated a bday) You might consider saving big purchases for here because there’s no tax.

  7. Wow, that IS a whole lotta luggage!
    You had me at the (delicious!) title of this post 🙂

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