Making the best of Christmas 2020

Christmas was hard this year. For everyone. 2020 has been a hard year.

Jon and I have spent many Christmases alone and I can relate to everyone’s sadness and frustration over not being able to celebrate with family this year. Let me just tell you, the best thing to do to combat this year’s Christmas blues is to still try and make it as cozy and nice as possible.

Because of Trump’s executive order, I had the 24th off. I would have taken it off otherwise anyway because I facetime with my family in the late morning on Christmas Eve. Usually, they’re all gathered at my sister’s house for Christmas Eve, but in true 2020-Coronavirus-fashion, everybody was tuning in from their own couches this year. It must have been harder for my family to not be together on Christmas Eve than it was for me and Jon to just see everybody over FaceTime, but I am just so thankful that technology makes it possible to check in with everyone virtually these days. It did make us all feel a little bit closer.

In the afternoon, I set our table and prepared our dinner. I always make a point to plan a nice meal, print a menu card, and decorate our table, even if it’s just the two of us. It puts me into a good mood and I simply love doing it. People have previously commented on the fact that I always go through so much trouble (no trouble at all, really) to set the table nicely for Christmas Eve Dinner and that I always cook something nice and even print a menu. I admit that it obviously doesn’t make up for the fact that we can’t see family, but having a nice meal and putting in some effort surely helps make the holidays a little bit nicer. We’ve also come to embrace the quietness of cozying up at home for a couple of days.

This year, we made a bacon-wrapped pork roast with homemade bread dumplings and red cabbage. For dessert, I tried a crust-less apple-cheesecake recipe that my Mom sent me. Everything was delicious and we really enjoyed our meal together.

We opened a few gifts on Christmas Eve but also saved a few for Christmas Day (combining both German and American traditions). Later in the evening, we watched “A child’s Christmas in Wales“, one of Jon’s favorite holiday movies.

We slept in a little bit on Christmas Day. I made a big pot of coffee, then talked to my uncle (in Germany) for a bit, and watched a German Mini-Christmas-Series on Netflix in the afternoon. It was nice to watch something in  German for a change. Christmas Day also always includes a “Christmas plate of cookies” and a big pot of tea.

In the evening, we had leftovers for dinner and watched ‘It’s a wonderful life‘ because there’s no Christmas around here without George Bailey. This movie always puts me in such a good mood.

As I mentioned before, December 26 is an official ‘second Christmas holiday’ in Germany, so I still tend to treat this day as a holiday (even if people start taking down the tree around here on the 26th. Our’s stays up at least until January, 6th). I spent most of the day in my lounge pants, I  talked to a family friend on Skype in the morning and went for a run in the afternoon. It was just so nice outside!

I didn’t get around to watching all the Christmas movies that I wanted to watch this year (oh well, I guess there is still time and who says that I can’t watch Christmas movies in January, right?), but one movie I definitely wanted to see before the holidays were over was  “Jingle Jangle” on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it yet, I urge you to make time to see it. It’s delightful. 

And as always,  the holiday cards that I received over the last few weeks put a huge smile on my face. Thanks so much to everyone who sent out cards this year. It’s been so nice to hear from all of you. If our card hasn’t arrived yet, I am assuming it’s in USPS limbo. Be patient and I hope you can still enjoy it when it arrives!

Tell me, how was your Christmas? Were you able to embrace a quiet Christmas this year?

  1. Those cookies! That’s one thing I really miss here in South Africa – the Swiss and German cookies!!
    We spent our day hiking up Table Mountain and in the evening we watched “Love, Actually”. It’s one of my favourite movies of the season.
    Wishing you a wonderful 2021!

  2. My Christmas wasn’t too bad. Granted, I don’t normally see tons of my family so it wasn’t terribly off from other years. Still strange though, and I’m ready for normal holidays.

    I love that you make the table nice and create a menu, even for the two of you! That’s really sweet, and it’s a good memory to have.


  3. It sounds like a wonderful and lovely Christmas. I totally get the fact to decorate the table and make it festive. I put the husband in charge of it and he did an amazing job. We even had a little crafting session on the 23rd.
    It is nice that you have gotten the chance to chat with everyone at least.

  4. I was ok with having a quiet Christmas since we have a newborn and I am pretty sleep deprived. My parents and siblings exchanged texts on Christmas Eve with pictures of what we were all eating. I made a pasta with sausage and peppers. Very simple and not super special but the best I felt like doing! I made ham, gravy, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts on Christmas day so we had a more special meal that day. Paul had so many presents from family so he opened a couple/day from the 24-28th! It was nice to stretch it out and gave us something to use to bribe him to listen. Ha. Listening has been tough since becoming a big brother!

    I love how special you make every holiday with a beautifully set table and printed menus! Jon is lucky to have you!!

  5. I love how special you make your holiday dinners! I think that’s so lovely, and obviously something you enjoy! I’m glad you had a lovely Christmas, friend. <3

  6. I’m impressed by how special you make your holiday dinners. It really does make a difference. And, I love that you had a multi-day Christmas holiday, taking time for family, friends, and yourself. That is really the way to do it – rather than treating it as just (part of) one day. I like the German approach! Is that typical in other European countries, too?

  7. I’m just reading this now…almost a year late…but those menu cards are so, so lovely. I think I might have to borrow this idea.

    The kids are getting off the bus right now for a Christmas Break of undetermined length – could be 3 weeks, could be 3 months. I’m trying to just really sink into the holiday season now. It has felt hard to come by Christmas cheer, but I’m going to turn off the lights, turn up the festive music and light #allthecandles. And having some elevated/fancy meals – why not try to make it feel EXTRA special this year?

    The food all looks so delicious.

    And I think we’re going to watch Jingle Jangle tonight! I’ve never seen it and will report back on my thoughts :)

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