This came from a longtime reader in Afghanistan. I waited for permission to publish:
Well, yesterday I celebrated my first Christmas away from the states. I’m at a little outpost in Afghanistan training Afghan soldiers where I have the distinction currently of being the lone American (everyone else is either recently reassigned or on leave). Aside from the Afghans the place is mostly French Canadian, with a bomb-sniffing K-9 guy hailing from Tanzania. The French Canadians celebrate Christmas very differently (i.e. wrong) than we do. They stay up late to count down until midnight and then celebrate. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that they’d gotten it confused with New Year’s. I imagine in a few days we’ll celebrate New Year’s Morning. One of the unit’s few long-suffering Anglophones told me that it was a first for him too.
Anyway, I wasn’t having any of this nonsense, and chose to go to bed at a civilized hour. I’m soon roused by someone pounding on my door and trying to get in (I’d jammed it shut. The French Canadians have a bizarre habit of wandering into our clearly labelled room in the middle of the night, running off when we wake up and ask them who the hell they are and what the hell they want. This has happened at least 5 times. It had been a while since the last time, but since I’ve been here alone I’ve figured better safe than sorry). I get up and open the door to see what he wants. The guys says that some Canadian general just helicoptered in, and he brought the US ambassador to Canada with him. He said the Ambassador wants to meet all of the Americans on the post. I say, “Well, that’s me,” and go to see the Ambassador. He’s a good dude, just a little suprised to have come all the way here and found just one American. So I end up staying up have the night for the celebration, which consisted of Hot Pockets and nonalcoholic beer. All in all, one of my stranger Christmases.