Well I hate to say it, but Christmas 2016 went by in a blur. As i’m sure it did last year and the year before that. I still can’t believe that after all of the build up and excitement, its all over!
**warning in advance: not a short post!**
This is the part I dislike most about the festive season: the end. The going back to reality. The packing it all up and heading home. I miss everyone already (and its only been a day). We are lucky enough to live about 90min away from both my in-laws and my parents, so luckily we get the opportunity to spend time with them.
This year was even better than previous years. With Christmas falling on a weekend (and both the hubby and I working in hospitals), we got an extra day off (today) thanks to the holiday carrying forward to the next working day (because Christmas was on Sunday). I also had the bonus of having the Friday before Christmas off!
Don’t recall if I mentioned how my Friday went down, but suffice it to say we left our house in lovely shape: all the laundry done, folded, AND put away (a Christmas miracle!) + the vacuuming and mopping all done. And all of the dishes put away (or drying in the dishwasher). The fact that this all happened probably had something to do with not going to the gym, but only heading out to pick up my new glasses/sunglasses.
We arrived at my in-law’s late on Friday night. Other than bringing in a bunch of stuff for the holidays (our overnight bags, camera bags, and a laundry basket of gifts), we did absolutely nothing except head to bed. I’m pretty sure I was asleep the second my noggin hit the pillow.
This year we were celebrating Wigilia (“Vigil” in Polish – celebrated on Christmas Eve) at my in-law’s friends house, so it meant a lot less prep work on the home front. We lazed about in our pjs for a while and watched my mother-in-law create dough for Rogaliki (or as I like to call them “croissantchiki” cute little crescent rolls). They are made from a very slightly sweet yeast dough, rolled out and cut into long skinny triangles. Before rolling them up into crescents, you add a dollop of jam onto the long side (my favourite being plum butter!). Bake them on a buttered cookie sheet with egg brushed on top. YUM.
My hubby, his brother, and I went up town after the crescent rolls were being made to pick up one last gift and two french breadsticks. They were FRESH … like hot outta the oven fresh. We promptly devoured half of one upon arrival back at home. Then it was time to get ready for the evening’s celebrations. We ate a very small meal of fresh rogaliki + french bread toasted with cheese, onion, and pepper + kisiel (a fruity jello/pudding thing that we have EVERY Christmas) and proceeded to open gifts. I was treated to a sweet pair of Harry Potter slippers from my brother-in-law, some lovely tops from my parents-in-law, and a fun collection of festive socks + new flannel bedsheets from the hubby.
We set out to the family friends’ house after that for a lovely dinner that consists of a variety of fish (this year was salmon and sole), pickled herring (no thank you), soup, pierogies, and a potato salad. There was a break for singing Christmas Carols in there (in Polish, so I mostly just smile and nod), and for opening gifts (we got a cute pacifier with a moustache on it for our incoming bebe — which i’ll be using regardless of the gender), some chocolates, and a lovely card. We headed home not too late as the hubby was planning on singing with the choir at the Cathedral-Basilica where we got married two years ago.
I very much enjoy Christmas Midnight Mass at the cathedral because it is decorated so lovely, the organist really lets loose on the music (you can feel it rumble in your chest), and its just so magical. The only I have trouble with (minus the fact that it starts at midnight and is often longer than one full hour), is that we have to be there early for rehearsal at 10:15pm. SO We are usually there for about 4 hours: from 10:15pm Christmas Eve to around 2:15am on Christmas morning by the time we leave after a mini-celebration with the choir. It is very long indeed.
We arrived at my parent’s place at 2:45am on Christmas morning and I tried SO HARD to be quiet as a mouse. Mum was awake (needless to say, for anyone who knows her) so we didn’t really need to be super stealthy. We stayed up to chat a bit – about Wigilia and midnight mass, then wished her and my dad a goodnight and hit the hay. Christmas morning is usually very busy and exciting at my parent’s place because we are all together right from the early hours. The last few years have been a bit different with my sister living about 2 and a half hours away (and her husband being a farmer). They have to get all of the farm chores done before they can head out, so they didn’t arrive until about 3:30pm. Until then though, the rest of us had traditional Christmas morning breakfast (scrambled eggs and kielbasa!) and lazed about digesting.
The hubby had a good nap (he wasn’t feeling too great), and I vacuumed and mopped the main floor for my mum. Following that I scrubbed the cupboards for her before deciding to get tidied up myself. Luckily with my short hair, getting ready for a nice and sorta fancy ish family dinner requires minimal time… that and I was eager for my sister and brother-in-law to arrive so we could finally open presents!
And arrive they did accompanied by the high-pitched voice that my sister is prone to using when talking to animals (she was quite happy to see our parents’ dog, Phineas).
After all of the hello’s and how-are-you’s, we all settled into the family room where our little brother was given “Santa Duty” and set to handing out the presents.
My parents always go above-and-beyond at Christmastime, so there were many exciting boxes to tear into. This year was very baby-centric for my sister and I as we are both expecting bundles of joy in the spring of 2017. The hubby and I were gifted with a GRACO brand swing/glider for our little nugget (with the option to run it on battery power OR plug it into the wall) while my sister and her husband were surprised with a play-pen light enough to travel with. We all buy something for our parents (this year I knit my dad a toque and matching scarf, plus got him new pants and sweater); for my mum, we all surprised her with soaping goodies that she requested (yet was still very surprised to receive). My hubby found awesome snowflake silicon baking moulds at the bulk barn and she’s quite pumped to make festive soap for next Christmas, and I ordered a spherical embed mould from the soaping place that she likes to purchase from. Between the siblings, we all sign up with an online “Secret Santa” generator, so we only have to pick a gift for one person other than our spouses. I got my sister this year, and my little brother got me (hello four new soup mugs with lids! – microwave and oven safe too). The hubby surprised me with more socks (yes!), a DVD player (hello movie-marathons) and The Screenplay for the new HP Movie: Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. I panicked.
After all of the excitement of opening gifts (other things included: a pair of maternity pixie pants from old navy, a new colouring book, a sweet Kat Von D leather clutch with some lipstick, lip gloss, and an eyeliner, plus two other eye shadow palettes… and a collection of baby goodies), we all settled in for an amazing turkey dinner cooked by mum and dad. Im talking 22lb turkey (omg), stuffing (the BEST), turnip, squash, corn, carrots, potatoes, gravy, sauerkraut + kielbasa, pierogies, and cabbage rolls … there isn’t enough room in my pregnant tummy to eat all of that.
Luckily mum packaged up leftovers for each of us and we also were gifted with about 36 frozen cabbage rolls that I can just pop into the crockpot before work one morning to come home to a super delicious dinner.
Dot (Dad) made two different kinds of trifle this year too. Usually he adds a bit of Grand Marnier (I think) to the angel food cake portion of the trifle… but he only did that to the Blueberry trifle this year (which he now calls boozeberry). The raspberry was free of alcohol so my sister and I could happily indulge.
Our lovely neighbours popped by later that evening (luckily before my sister and brother-in-law had to head back), so we all got to catch up together. They surprised us each with a coffee-shop gift card (Starbucks or Tim Horton’s) and a cute baby onesie with polar bears on the front. We rounded out the evening relaxing in our pjs and spent most of boxing day (aka Mum’s Birthday) doing the same as mum and my hubby were a bit run down from too many late nights/lack of sleep. I was a bit mopey for the holidays coming to a close. We lazed and looked at some baby-related items online. Not much was on special, but we did get a really good deal on a glider for our nursery room.
That pretty much rounds out my 4 day holiday weekend. I am ridiculously sad that its all over. I won’t be packing up decorations until maybe January first or second (depending on how much energy I have/how mopey I’m feeling)… but it will be nice to have it all packed up before work gets too crazy again. That and we REALLY need to start working on our basement renovation project. Other than the wood and tools being ready to go in the basement, we’ve not really done much of anything. Oh well! It’ll happen.
I’ll round out this VERY LENGTHY post with a short video I made with clips from over the holiday. Hope you all enjoy! Again and again, I can’t say it enough: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!