Decorating your Christmas tree is truly an art here in Beirut. Not only do you have the tree with all it’s lights and ornaments, but you have the cave. Yes, you heard me right… the cave. People put their trees on some kind of box and then build a really intricate and sometimes ornate cave underneath the tree. It’s made with special “cave paper,” crinkled and formed so that it looks like your tree is actually on the top of a rocky mountain. In the center of the mountain is a cave where the nativity goes. It’s actually kind of a cool idea… and we were told by one person that the cave and nativity is actually more important than the tree.
We didn’t have a cave this year… we had a hard enough time finding a tree! We don’t actually live on the Christian side of Beirut, so all the trees that we saw around here were super expensive and kind of pathetic looking. We looked and looked, asked everyone we knew, and basically were told that you have to go to the Christian side of town to get a good tree. With no car and not much of a clue where in “Christian Beirut” to go, we were at a bit of a loss. Less than a week before Christmas, we had the presents, the ornaments, but still no tree!
We were telling our language teacher about our tree predicament late last week and she immediately called her husband and asked him to go to the supermarket near their house (on the Christian side!) and see if there were any trees left. There were, so after class Caleb hopped on the bus with her and got us a great tree! It was a tad expensive, but the nice thing about trees here in Lebanon is that they pack up really nicely in a box to be used again next year! :)
posted by: nicolette
(it’s kinda hard to tell, but the ornaments are brown and silver… and the tree-topper is my hat from halloween this year! it’s hard to start from scratch completely when it comes to things like christmas decorations! :))