We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

Christmas in Egypt

I like Christmas in Egypt. In the US I often feel like the Grinch (before his heart grows two sizes), but here I find only joy in the holiday.

In Egypt, Christmas is whatever we want it to be. Very few people here are celebrating Christmas (Egyptian Coptic Christians celebrate in early January), so we aren’t competing with crowds of grumpy holiday shoppers. And perhaps because expats spend a lot of money, shopkeepers are extra friendly and offer enthusiastic holidays wishes. And, most importantly to me, other people aren’t telling us what Christmas should mean to us.

The Christmas spirit isn’t just felt by expats in Egypt. Many Egyptian Muslim families buy trees, and Santa brings money to many of these kids.

There are some challenges. It’s tough to find good quality toys here, at least without a major schlep to the big mall across town (I’ve been there twice and really the only thing that’d draw me there again is the Mexican restaurant). But I bought most of the kids’ presents in London in October (the most fun shopping day of my life), so right now we’re mostly shopping for stocking stuffers and a couple extra small things.

We’re also not sure where to find a turkey, but if we substitute a chicken (of which there are plenty) and still have the other traditional fixings, we’ll be fine.

The biggest challenge is that we can’t be with our family. On the plus side, we don’t have to deal with the stress of holiday travel.

So really the challenges are pretty minimal. What is great is how much time off I have to spend with the boys. This week we’re going to head out to Fagnoon, one of our favorite places, where the kids can paint and screen print and shape clay on a foot-pumped wheel, and hang out at our club and maybe even bake cookies.

The irony is that in this Muslim country, I finally have the time and space to celebrate Christmas just as we want.


21 December 2008 - Posted by | expat scene, holidays


  1. Happy Christmas!! 🙂

    Comment by Typ0 | 21 December 2008

  2. Same to you! Have fun in Japan!

    Comment by Ms. Four | 21 December 2008

  3. We typically have a bird for Thanksgiving, but a ham at Christmas. I’ll bet its tough to find a Christmas ham too!

    Comment by heits | 21 December 2008

  4. happy christmas. im egyptian & glad u enjoy ur stay in egypt. btw u can find turkey in Carrefour 🙂 hv a great holiday.

    Comment by mostafa | 21 December 2008

  5. Heits, you’d be surprised at all the pork in Egypt! For expats, anyway. But I don’t eat pork myself (or beef actually), so I’m not looking for a Christmas ham.

    Mostafa, thank you! A friend is going to Carrefour tomorrow to pick up a couple of turkeys.

    Comment by Ms. Four | 21 December 2008

  6. Happy Christmas! We’re spending Christmas in Dubai and I’m looking forward to the quiet days.

    Comment by Juju | 22 December 2008

  7. Have a wonderful holiday! Christmas without the mass consumerism? sounds like heaven to me.

    Comment by Sarah Ryan | 24 December 2008

  8. At Carrefour you dont have to buy the whole turkey. I just buy the breasts and put them in the freezer and take one out and make sandwiches for my hubby for work.

    Are you referring to the Mexican restaurant, Cantina Laredo, in Citystars Mall? It closed down. I am so upset because that is the only restaurant with exquisite food. There is another Mexican restaurant called On the Border and the food has become horrible. When I ate there the first couple of times, it was good but now it is horrible!

    Comment by ilka | 26 December 2008

  9. Ilka, that’s terrible news about Cantina Laredo! You have saved me major disappointment the next time I go to City Stars.

    A Mexican place in Maadi would work, I think, but I can see this not working in City Stars.

    Comment by Ms. Four | 27 December 2008

  10. merry merry christmas to the world from egypt

    Comment by troy | 30 December 2008

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