The National Christmas Tree It goes without saying that having your parents around for Christmas adds a unique flavor to the festive season. There is the quality time, the shared laughs and of course the memories created.

My parents came all the way from Amman to celebrate the holidays with us. In addition to the memorable time we are having with them, we have also been enjoying the authentic Jordanian/Middle Eastern atmosphere they brought along.

Since my parent’s arrival we have been waking up to the smell of Turkish coffee and to the sight of olive oil and thyme (along with Arabic (pita) bread) on the kitchen table. For breakfast, we are eating Labaneh and drinking tea just like the good old days. Our dinners are no longer meat loaf and macaroni and cheese but Magloubeh, Koussa bilaban and Freekeh. Our stereo is no longer playing Thievery Corporation and Robbie Robertson but Nancy Ajram and the best of Arab Pop for 2006.

The New Yorker and The Economist no longer occupy a prime place in our magazine racks. Instead, they have been replaced by Layalina and other brand new glossy Jordanian publications. I guess in a way we are celebrating the holidays the Jordanian way. Life doesn’t get any better.