CCI high school exchange students have crossed their midway point of their school year and a majority of them had Christmas to celebrate at that benchmark. Mariana, an exchange student living in Wetumpka, Alabama, introduced herself to you in December and wants to continue to share her exchange experience with you. While Christmas is already a distant memory for most of us, it is still a wonderful, magical experience that will stay with her always. Here is her account of her “American Christmas.”

By Mariana, a CCI exchange student

My first American Christmas! It was almost Christmas when my host family and I started putting up the Christmas tree. It was so fun to decorate the entire house with Christmas lights, multiple Santa figures, Christmas stockings and all of the Christmas decorations. We went to “Christmas on the Coosa,” which is a Christmas Parade downtown and at night we went back downtown to see the fireworks. It was amazing!

One of the things I was so excited about was the famous “Elf on the Shelf” (hahaha). In Brazil, we don’t have the tradition of telling kids that the elf is working for Santa and that the elf will tell Santa everything the kids do. It was so much fun at my house because we had to move the elf everyday so my little host brother could find him. 🙂

On Christmas day, my host family and I woke up early to open the presents. There were a lot of presents under the tree! My host family gave me a jacket, a bracelet, a Bible, nail polishes, pajamas, lotions, and gift cards and my friends gave me a lot of presents too! We went to Church and it was so good! After that we had a Christmas lunch at my host mom’s friend’s house.

In my home country, we have a Christmas Supper on December 24th and we open presents right after midnight on December 25th. In Alabama, we had Christmas Lunch and open presents in the morning of the 25th.

I had a great Christmas and I hope every exchange student had the opportunity to have an amazing Christmas like I did!