Our Christmas 2018

You don’t mind that I spend a good part of the beginning of the new year recapping the end of the last year, do you? 

Even though I had a hard time getting into the holiday spirit this year, this year’s Christmas was so much better than last year’s just for the fact alone that J and I weren’t awfully sick. I guess getting the flu shot early this flu season paid off (fingers crossed). 

We had planned to spend Christmas cozily at home, but got a last minute invitation for cheese fondue for Christmas Eve. I mean, you can’t really say ‘no’ to that, can you?

We skyped with my family in the morning (who was gathered at my sister’s house again) and then in the afternoon we got ready to go over to the house of some (potential new) friends. It was a nice change from previous years and we had really great evening.

Christmas Day we did spend cozily at home.


We had coffee in the morning and did our Christmas the “American way” by opening the presents that had arrived in the mail (we usually open packages on Christmas Eve or split it between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning). We went for a nice Christmas Day walk around the State Capitol in the afternoon, because it was a beautiful cold, but sunny day!


In the evening, I cooked the dinner I had originally planned for Christmas Eve. Filet Mignon with mushroom cream sauce, homemade Semmelknödel (bread dumplings) and green beans and Brussels sprouts. Yum.

It was the first time I made my mom’s recipe for bread dumplings and they turned out amazing. The reason I hadn’t made them before was that the recipe calls for “stale rolls”, which I usually don’t have lying around, but turns out that Safeway sells stale bread as unseasoned stuffing and that’s just what I needed to make these. They were so good!


I also insisted on watching a Christmas movie in the evening. “The Christmas Chronicles”, a new Christmas movie on Netflix. Have you heard of it?

December, 26 is an official ‘second Christmas holiday’ in Germany and so I always try to treat it as such. I had planned to take off the day originally, but since I am currently (still) furloughed, I had the day off either way.

I spent most of the day on the couch and indulged in some good old German movies that are traditionally shown around the holidays, like “Sissi” (this is a very popular trilogy from the 1950’s about the Empress of Austria that I happen to own on DVD). Always a treat!

my Christmas plate

One thing I noticed: mail deliveries get worse  every year (or so it seems). My mom’s package (which she apparently sent at the beginning of December) still hasn’t arrived. Quite a few cards came after the holidays. I don’t know if the postal service is just hopelessly overwhelmed over the holidays (I secretly hope that this is the reason) or they’re just screwing with people.

I sent all my overseas mail on the same day and while my aunt (who lives next to my parents) has received her card, my parents haven’t received theirs. How is that possible?

As always, I loved all the holiday cards that I received over the last few weeks.


Quite a few cards arrived after the holidays (or are still in transit), so if you don’t see yours in this picture, it doesn’t mean I didn’t get it.

How were your holidays? Did you see family? Did you have a good time?

  1. I’m glad you had a good Christmas and were both healthy! We had a pretty crappy Christmas as Paul and I got the stomach flu on the 22nd and Paul also got an ear infection (which we were able to treat with ear drops instead of oral antibiotics – and we knew he had an infection due to drainage coming out of his ear so the tubes are working!). Paul bounced back quicker than I did. I really didn’t have an appetite for 2-3 days. I started to feel closer to normal on the 26th and then Phil got a terrible cold/sore throat and he’s still sick! So we just can’t all manage to be healthy at the same time. Ugh. Such is life with a kid in daycare I guess!

    We saw Phil’s mom the Saturday after Christmas. We were supposed to go to my parents for Christmas but canceled our trip since I wasn’t feeling well and Phil was nervous he would get the flu next. We are going up to my parents this coming weekend for a belated Christmas celebration. I’m really looking forward to that! We facetime with my parents every weekend but they are so excited to see little Paul in person!

    1. Ugh, I am sorry you were sick over the holidays this year. That sucks, regardless if you have big plans or not. I hope you’re all better!

  2. Thanks for the tip about Semmelknoedel. I have a recipe I haven’t been able to use for the same reason, I will definitely try what you did.

    1. You’re welcome! Let me know how they turn out :)

  3. LOL I don’t think I could say no to cheese fondue either, so nothing wrong with that! Your Christmas Day meal sounds delicious too though! It sounds like you guys had a nice few days and I’m glad to hear that!

    1. Thank you, it was a nice Christmas :)

  4. So glad mine found you! I was so early writing and mailing this year. Glad the Christmas holidays were warm and merry.

    1. Yes, your card was the first that I received :) Always a treat!

  5. Cheese fondue is the BEST, so I’m glad you said yes to it! I love that photo of you and J – a framer indeed!

    1. Thank you :) we don’t have too many recent photos together so I am always happy when we get a new one! :)

  6. I love Christmas pictures year round :) And would never pass up fondue! Your menu cards are to die for! So cute! Looks like it was a very Happy Christmas! Cheers to the New Year!

    1. Thank so much. I do try to make Christmas special, even if it’s just the two of us (the menu cards are part of it!)

  7. I’m glad you had a nice Christmas!! My family usually opens gifts on Christmas Eve. And cheese fondue- yum! I could go for some of that soon. LOL That’s crazy about all the missing mail. I hope things show up soon. I feel like certain areas are worse. I have an aunt in Texas and getting mail to her is always difficult.


    1. Yeah, I don’t know what’s happening with the postal service, but it’s almost no fun anymore to send anything… sending overseas has become super-expensive and then customs get involved, etc.

  8. OMG woman that dinner looks AMAZING. {*insert eye-heart emoji*}

    We stayed home this year, and while both Caelum and I were sick (nasty cough), it honestly was so much better than traveling anywhere. We didn’t see any family until after Christmas when my in-laws came up to visit. It was so nice though to spend it just with Matt and Caelum and no one else. I think I much prefer it that way. Simplicity and less crazy environment work better for me. My parents and I spent many, many Christmases on our own (just our little family) we couldn’t really always go to Lebanon to be with extended family. It reminded me of that and I much preferred it.

    Here’s to hoping that the furlough situation is resolved this week (crossing ALL my fingers and toes).

    1. I can see how having a Christmas on your own as a family can be fun…. I think I just miss having my parents or my sister and niece/nephew around, but I don’t need to tell you this. You know how it is.

  9. OMG, your dinner looks delicious. I love that you made Semmelknödel! I have a package of premade ones here, but I haven’t even looked to see how they’re made. Every time I think of experimenting I get lazy. But thanks for reminding me they are there (certainly won’t be nearly as good as homemade, but they’ll do the trick in the meantime!).

    I love post-Christmas recaps, and no. Of course you can’t say no to a fondue party :) Sounds like you had a lovely holiday, and I love that you saw some German/Austrian holiday movies. I dunno what’s up with the mail. My mom runs into that each year, and has started sending packages in November, and sometimes they STILL don’t arrive in Europe until after Christmas!

    1. I wouldn’t say no to premade Semmelknödel either…. I’ll take any Knödel that I can get my hands on LOL

      I am sorry to hear that your Mom has also run into problems with the postal service… I don’t know, it’s no fun to send anything overseas anymore :(

  10. How great that you are making new friends and cheese fondue is always a good idea.
    When i received your card I wondered why it took so long to get delivered. But I was happy to get one. I’ve only gotten three cards in total this year.

  11. You always make the yummiest looking meals. I think it is nice for child free married couples to have family traditions for holidays. Paul and I started making a breakfast and eating it together on Christmas morning. It’s always been French toast so far. We never eat French toast and we NEVER eat breakfast together, let alone at the dining room table. So it is something nice and special on Christmas! I’m glad you had a cozy Christmas at home.

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