When Kyle and I were talking about moving to Kuwait and discussing what we would miss most about the home, I said Christmas. We were hopeful that we would be able to find a tree of some kind and brought some ornaments with us. I expected Christmas in Kuwait to be almost completely devoid of all things Christmas outside of expat apartments.
I have never been happier to be wrong! The only things missing are Christmas music in the stores and on the radio, and cold temperatures (which I’ll gladly do without).
There’s no shortage of Christmas trees and displays at malls or grocery stores or really any stores at all. When we went tree shopping we had many options to choose from. We ended up buying ours from City Center Salmiya but several hypermarkets, ACE Hardware, Ikea, and another furniture store all had them for sale. Live trees are even available, but they are quite pricey.
When walking or driving around Kuwait Christmas trees can be spotted in many apartment windows. A coworker told me that even some Muslims in Kuwait enjoy buying Christmas trees and exchanging gifts.
Other decorations haven’t been hard to find either. Lights, ornaments, Christmas chocolates, wrapping paper and ribbons, stockings, and wreaths are all available. I also finally got my Icelandic star! I’ve been looking for one for almost an entire year since we saw them in every window in Iceland. It worked out to use it as our “tree topper” instead of hanging it in the window though.
We attended two of at least four Christmas bazaars. Both of the ones we went to were huge and full of so many Christmas treats, knickknacks, ornaments, and decorations. Santa and an elf were also in attendance. We purchased a new ornament and a gift for the American Women’s League gift and cookie exchange, which was hosted by the US Ambassador’s wife. There was also a very fun Christmas Choir event with lots of singalongs that we attended.
So far, I’ve only had to throw on a very light jacket for a few early morning walks. A few days have been quite windy, which drops the temperature quite a bit. Otherwise, I’m generally comfortable in a long sleeve top or cardigan and pants. Outside temperatures have been pretty tolerable – even for someone who is always cold like I am. Lots of people are walking around in coats and winter hats though. I guess I’m still used to US temperatures, I’ll probably have a coat and hat on this time next year!
We won’t be spending actual Christmas in Kuwait. We leave on Friday morning for a trip to Europe! I’m so excited to finally see a European Christmas market and I am a little excited to put on my coat and boots (and scarfs, hats, and gloves) that I lugged over here.
Even though we won’t be in Kuwait for Christmas I’ve enjoyed the season here much, much more than I thought I would. While we do miss family and friends, we’ll be home in our dreams. Kudos to Kuwait for making the season enjoyable!