Monday, January 2, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I have had the most incredible Christmas ever! Let's start at the beginning (not the very beginning, I tend to be a little too wordy for that.)

PART 1- Christmas Decor
I didn't have a lot of money to buy decorations. Since we planned on spending Christmas just the two of us in Utah this year, a warm Christmas-y atmosphere was a must. We got really lucky and found someone selling their Christmas tree on the KSL classifieds. 7.5 ft, prelit, and we only paid $40 for it. Best deal ever!

 My tree started off very bare. I had a few ornaments that I got for cheap at Disney World, and then I found some super cheap ball ornaments (bulbs?) at Smith's (the grocery store), they were good tree fillers. Then eventually my mom sent my ornaments from back home. It's our family tradition to get a new ornament every year, a tradition I plan to keep with my children; it's like a lit up scrapbook that you get to look at and reminisce with.  Well after all those ornaments and a gift card from my mom to get a tree topper, my tree turned out like this.

The rest of my decorations we're pretty reasonable priced. I got a lot of things at the dollar store and the cheap section of target (my glittery nativity and reindeer and little snowman and Santa nutcrackers were only $2.50 each).  Well anywho...this is how it all turned out.

 Our pretty door with the Christmas cards from all of our loved ones.

 This is a little Celtic nativity that my sister gave me. Isn't it pretty?

 The TV was a happy Christmas present to ourselves. Originally over $400 but with giftcards we only ended up paying around $170. (We know how to get our moneys worth).

 My Grandma made the beautiful stockings.

 I found the mugs at DI and my mom sent me the plate. They go so nicely together.

PART 2- Christmas Eve Eve
On Christmas Eve Eve we had dinner with my aunt who's basement we're renting and my other aunt and their kids and grandkids. My aunt is vegan, so it was a very nontraditional holiday dinner of vegan chili over baked potatoes. I made the cutest reindeer cookies.

After dinner all 18 of us sat around the piano and sang Christmas carols. I'm really not much of a singer but I found that the whole event was a great way to get into the holiday spirit. There was such a beautiful spirit there amid the melodic notes and sweet words praising the birth of Christ.
BUT the sweet spirit was a little short lived. We sang a good number of songs and when everyone was winding down and ready to stop singing due to sore throats, my aunt had her own little chorus of, "But we haven't sung this one," and  "What about this one". So Chris and I just sat and listened when she insisted on the group singing along to the Hallelujah chorus. Following all the songs, we were ready to call it a night and said goodnight.
To end the night, I fell asleep on the couch watching the Grinch and  Chris worked on his vivarium he is making.

PART 3- Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve started off as a day like any other... only better, cause I didn't have to go to work. First thing, Chris and I made a trip to the gas station (our car wouldn't start since it was so lacking in gas and the other car we drive was on E) and then to the grocery store to get cheese and summer sausage. I love snacking on these during the day before our scrumptious Christmas Eve dinner. At the last minute I remembered that I needed to get a candy thermometer for the rolls but then I just figured my aunt would have one and didn't bother looking. She didn't have one. I ended up coming back to the store like 15 minutes later.
We snacked on our cheese and sausage and watched Deck the Halls, a really funny Christmas movie with Danny Devito and Matthew Broderick.
The movie was on TV and I actually didn't know the name of it until like a minute ago when I looked it up. It was cute though. I recommend it.

Anyways...after that I made our delicious Christmas Eve dinner. I must say that it was quite a success since I had never made a Christmas Eve dinner before. Check it out.

Green beans with mushrooms and onions
Mashed Potatoes
Candied Yams
Rolls (not pictured)

DO you like our table cloth? We didn't have one, so Chris got the bright idea to use wrapping paper. I think it turned out really cute.
Funny story about the yams. I had never made yams before. In fact, I used to think they were gross. That was until I tried them prepared like this:

Actually it turns out they're delicious! Especially the way I made them. The recipe I found said after I boil the sweet potatoes to put a couple pats of butter on top, brown sugar and then marshmallows and stick it in the oven. I didn't really pay attention to how much of everything it called for, so I just went ahead a put a little butter on and coated it in brown sugar. I didn't want the marshmallows to burn so I decided I wouldn't put those on until the last 10 minutes. (Plus there had been an incident where I might have caught the oven on fire with marshmallows..hehe). Well the last 10 minutes roll around and I pull out the yams ready to put the marshmallows on...only I see something weird.
"Well that's weird," I think to myself, "what happened to the brown sugar?? Maybe the marshmallows were supposed to act as some sort of cover for the brown sugar and since I didn't put them on, all the brown sugar evaporated..."
And so I put on another, very thick, layer of brown sugar before adding the marshmallows. I mean it was so thick that all you could see was brown sugar, not the sweet potatoes.
*Skip to Chris dishing up some yams for himself* "What is all this sauce at the bottom?"
*Moment of realization* "OHHHhhhh...brown sugar liquefies...that makes so much more sense. Oops."

Besides all that, dinner turned out great. And we'll be eating ham for breakfast, lunch and dinner for at least a month.

We Skyped with my family technically before dinner since they had just finished dinner. Every year on Christmas Eve it's tradition for us to get new pajamas. We thought it would be fun if this year we opened them together over Skype. Aren't we cute??
PART 4- Christmas
I set my alarm so that I would wake up at 5am on Christmas morning so that I could watch my family open presents over Skype for a little while before going back to bed. 

Maddie showed me what she got in her stocking, then I watched John and Tonya open their stockings and then the presents from under the tree were passed out and everyone took turns opening. It was fun for awhile. But you can only watch people open presents for so long before you start feeling a range of not so wonderful emotions. Mine were: Homesickness, jealousy, and intense sleepiness. Finally, at my mom's insistence, I woke Chris up and we all opened presents together as a family. Let me just say how grateful I am for Skype. How wonderful that we have the technology that allowed me to have a traditional Christmas morning with my family in Georgia, while I was in Utah. Granted I couldn't eat any of the monkey bread or have any hot chocolate. But I still feel very blessed to have spent the morning with them.

My favorite present you ask?? My brand new netbook!!! I am so excited that I have something I can take to classes with me. That and my old laptop is sort of retarded...and really heavy. So YAY!!

I love Christmas. It was a little hard to be away from my family this year, but it didn't seem like we were too far, not really. The sad part now is having to take down all the decorations. I just hope I don't fall into a post-Christmas depression. You just spend a whole month, or maybe more, looking forward to one day and then just like that it's over. But I still have New Year's to look forward to. And then my birthday. Maybe I should decorate for my birthday for the whole month of January. That'd be festive :)

1 comment:

  1. It was fun to hear about your holiday! Thank you for the card and the DVD. It is great to see what you have been up to. I'm glad you liked the Celtic nativity scene. I thought it was pretty and unusual.