Tuesday, December 27, 2011

3 days of Christmas

Christmas is officially over here in Germany.  We had three wonderful days of fun, family and love! There was plenty of laughter, food and sparkling wine.  It couldn't have been better.

Christmas for me started on Friday the 23rd, with another one of my and Peter's new Christmas traditions.  Every year on the 23rd of December, we have a special dinner together, just the two of us.  Sometimes we go out, sometimes we stay in and make a special dinner.  It's a great start to the holidays.  This year, Peter wanted Thanksgiving dinner because he hadn't gotten to enjoy it with us in November.  We spent the evening cooking together and then had a relaxed and festive dinner.  We went to the Christmas market after that.

The table set for Christmas Eve Eve dinner. 
At the Christmas market with our good friend Nico!
In Germany, the 23rd always feels like Christmas Eve to me.  I get really confused here.  They celebrate the 24th as the big, important day of Christmas, as it is the first of the 3 Christmas holidays.  So, our little dinner on the 23rd always feels like a Christmas Eve dinner to me.  When Peter went to bed that night, I sneaked around and filled his stocking.  When we got up on the 24th, we sat by the Christmas tree with big cups of coffee and opened presents, before getting ourselves ready to go to his parents' house.  It was such a great experience to have Christmas morning just the two of us.  Of course, I missed my family dearly.

Christmas Eve morning at our house, with Peter's stocking filled in the background.
Cozy morning!
Peter excited about the calendar I made him of pictures from our travels together; me excited about everything I got; peter unwrapping something from my mom; lots of presents; white lights; all the stuff we took over to the in-laws.
At Peter's parents house on Christmas Eve, we did all of our usual (Finnish) Christmas traditions.  We decorated the Christmas tree, opened gifts at nightfall, ate a traditional Finnish Christmas dinner and played board games by the fire.  It was a truly magical day and we had all had a great time.  We didn't have any Christmas snow this year, but we enjoyed spending the day all cozy inside, enjoying the Christmas lights, a fire and plenty of candles. 

We spent the night at the in-laws that night and woke up there for breakfast.  On Christmas Day, I had Peter's family over for chili and cornbread and to watch all of the NBA basketball games. 
On Christmas Eve, a sleepy cat behind us.
The Christmas tree; my plethora of gifts; Peter and I (in my PJs); and a glass of bubbly. 
On the morning of the 26th, we woke up late and had pumpkin french toast (adapted from this recipe) for breakfast.  Then we headed up to the mountains near us for a winter hike.  It was a perfect end to the three-day holiday--so nice to see snow and get outdoors. 

Pumpkin french toast; me cooking in my new PJ's (from Victoria's Secret and so comfy--unfortunately, they are out of this color!)

Peter, in the woods during a snowy and foggy hike.
A babbling brook; a pond in black and white; Peter; and a solitary mountain trail.

Really excited to see snow!

All in all, it was a fantastic Christmas.  I am just so sad to see it go.  At least we still have a week of festivities coming up.  :-)  I hope everyone else had a great Christmas and got to spend some quality quiet time with the people they love.  After all, that is what it is all about! 

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