My first Christmas as a Peace Corps Volunteer (2015) was spent in the States with family. In preparation for the visit, I crafted handmade Xmas cards using red/green/white construction paper. Each card had its own wintery design- snowman, snowflake, tree, ect. They were received with delight and smiles.
My second Christmas (2016), and last as a Volunteer, was spent here in the campo. Fortunately I was able to spend it with Kabe, Preston, Stacy and Elena! They came for a ten day visit to Panama for the holidays; so I tried to make the house as merry as possible. Some of the campo christmas crafts included stockings, a tree, and streamers. The streamers were made from red/green/white construction paper. Cut them into equal sized strips then chain link them using tape or glue. Decorate the house with them and secure with thumbtacks.
The tree was made from scrap cardboard. First draw a tree design on one piece of cardboard. After cutting it out, place it on top of another piece to outline it in pen. Cut out the second matching piece. For one piece, make a slit along the center with a few inches to spare at the top. Then make a slit a few inches on top of the other piece. When made correctly, the two should slide into one another to create a 3D tree. Before securing the pieces together I first painted and decorated them with glitter and cut out images of gifts and ornaments. A glittered star was created and wedged on top. It helps if you cut a small slit in the star to secure it to the treetop. To secure the tree, strong glue or tape works well. We placed our tree on top of a trunk stool, using my Christmas nagua shirt as a tree skirt. Kabe helped create snow by ripping out the stuffing of his latest toy. 🙂 If you don’t want to make a 3D tree, simply draw and cut out a large tree using charla paper. Color and decorate it with kiddos, then hang it up! Place your wrapped presents under your tree and wait for Santa to come to the jungle.
To make the stockings, I utilized an old rainwater tank form. Regular tela works just as well, if not better. The tank form was stiff to work with…but it was free and recyclable! After drawing a flat stocking on paper, trace it along the cloth, cutting out two identical stockings. Staple or sew these together and flip inside out. Make small handles from cloth or string for hanging. Decorate your stockings with your names and wintery images. And some more glitter! We put our English and Ngabere names on ours
Although it is not the same celebrating Christmas in the Campo, it can still be magical and exciting. To create a Christmas atmosphere, bake cookies and sip on peppermint hot chocolate; listen to Xmas music and watch Christmas movies. But what makes Christmas special, and I have found this to be most true in the campo, is not the decorations or presents, cookies or movies. It is the memories shared with the ones you love. I dearly miss Christmas in the States, but this was the most unique Christmas I think I have ever had. It will always be remembered and cherished, as it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am pretty stoked for snow next year though:). How did you celebrate your Christmas in the campo? What campo Christmas crafts did you make?