Our Christmas 2022

Well, our Christmas turned out to be a little bit different than we had planned. This year, we finally had plans to host family (Jon’s mom) for Christmas. We had been looking forward to have company over the holiday for once, but as previously mentioned, her travel plans were thwarted by the holiday travel chaos across the country. We had hoped that a short 1-hour flight within California would not be impacted, but alas, we were proven wrong. I am sure she was as frustrated as we were about returning home and having to postpone the visit.

But hey, we’re used to making Christmas as festive and wonderful at home as possible, even if it’s just the two of us. So, here’s a little summary of our holiday weekend.

Christmas Eve

I started Christmas Eve morning off by running the Virtual Snowman 10K organized by my Peloton Streakers group. It was awesome to get a workout in first thing in the morning.

After a hot shower and some coffee, my sister called. My family was gathered at her house and they were just between the main course and dessert of their Christmas Eve dinner when I ‘joined’ them via FaceTime. I spent two hours with them and I must say, if it hadn’t been for the fact that I wasn’t able to get a taste of that delicious dessert that was passed in front of my face, it was almost like I was there. I am so thankful for the technology that makes it possible to virtually sit at your family’s dinner table.

Oh, it was nice to see them all… and what made me the happiest was the fact that the photo book from our family vacation, which I’d been working on for the last few weeks, had been delivered on time and was such a great surprise for my parents. They really hadn’t expected it (and my sister said there might have been some tears of joy). I am so glad I got it done. It took two whole weekends, but it was really good that I had a deadline of finishing and ordering the book by December 12th… otherwise it wouldn’t have gotten done anytime soon.

I also unwrapped a a small present that my sister had sent (even though we had agreed to not exchange gifts, tsss) and which had been delivered earlier that week. A personalized ornament – so sweet. I was very touched and instantly found a spot for it on our tree!

We usually make a fancy dinner on Christmas Eve, but since we were expecting Jon’s Mom to visit for a few days, we moved our Christmas dinner to the next day and just enjoyed a simple plate of pasta on Christmas Eve. I also watched one of my all-time favorite movies, The Holiday.

Christmas Day

I started Christmas Day with another Peloton workout with Tanja and then took a shower and enjoyed some gingerbread coffee from one of my few Christmas mugs (isn’t it cute?).

In the morning, I set our table and prepared our dinner. As you know, I always make a point to plan a nice meal,  print a menu card, and decorate our table. This time, I set the table for three because Jon’s Mom was supposed to join us later in the afternoon.

Yes, it was a huge bummer when we found out she wasn’t coming. Jon had really looked forward to spending time with his mom (and me, too). We still made the best of it because what else was there to do? The apartment was clean, the food was almost ready, and we were hungry ;)

This year, we made Argentinian Red Shrimp in garlic butter as an appetizer, followed by Chicken ‘Zurich Style’ with mushroom gravy, homemade bread dumplings (my Mom’s recipe!), and red cabbage.

For dessert, I prepared tiramisu. I hadn’t had it in ages. It was all very good, just… a little bit too much for only two people. We had so much food that I didn’t have to cook for two days.

We moved over to the couch later and enjoyed the fake TV fireplace for a bit. We also watched a couple of holiday movies, one of them being “It’s a Wonderful Life”. We watch it every year and I always look forward to it.

The 2nd day of Christmas

On the “2nd day of Christmas” (which is an official holiday in Germany and which we take very seriously around here), we mostly just hung out at home. I allowed myself to sleep in, I then settled on the couch with my coffee and a book in front of our TV-fireplace. It was so cozy. I might have taken a little nap, too.

I could have stayed on the couch all day, but we went for a walk around our neighborhood in the late afternoon to see all the Christmas decorations before they were taken down. Usually we take this walk sometime during the week leading up to Christmas. There are organized carriage rides through our neighborhood and people come from near and far to see the decorations. We had waited to go this year because I thought it was something that Jon’s Mom would enjoy. Oh well. I was glad that most decorations were still up though. Aren’t they cool?

As always, last but not least, 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. It truly made the holidays that much brighter.

I hope – and already know from some of your recaps! – that you also had a nice Christmas.

  1. Of course I’m happiest when we have the boys and have big family parties, but there have been some holidays when it’s just the two of us, and those are very special in their own way. It’s too bad that your MIL wasn’t able to make it though.

    My favorite part about the holiday was the two 4 day weekends in a row! I could get used to that.

    1. 4 day weekends are awesome (they should be mandatory!) and I agree, holidays when it’s just the two of us can be very special too (we’ve done that quite a few years).

  2. I’m so sorry that Jon’s mother’s plans were thwarted (ugh – over Christmas!!!), but it really sounds like you made the most of the holiday season. Those neighbourhood decorations are SO lovely. We only went to look at lights once (we usually go 4-5 times), and I feel like I missed out on the holiday lights displays a bit this year.

    Your food looks so yummy, and I just LOVE that you create a menu and set the table so nicely. I am such a satisficer in that area – normal plates, nothing special on the table other than candles, but I have to admit that seeing how nicely you arrange your table makes me think twice about being so nonchalant about the table decor because it really does elevate the dining experience!

    Love all the festive exercise and that ornament from your sister is LOVELY. What a great reminder of your connection <3

    And your mug collection always makes me swoon!

    1. I just love a nice table setting… I don’t do it all that often, but for special holidays, it’s a MUST for me.
      Hehe, my mug collection… I really have a problem. :)

  3. What a bummer about Jon’s mom. This year was so bad for travel. I have so many friends whose kids couldn’t come home, etc., etc. Hopefully next year will be better.

    I love that llama mug! And the ornament from your sister, how lovely. Boxing Day is a holiday here as well (your 2nd day of Christmas) and I always love relaxing on that day.

    1. Thank you, Nicole. And I absolutely agree – boxing day should be holiday for EVERYONE. The should call it Relaxing Day :P

  4. How disappointing that Jon’s mother was unable to come! I hope you can plan a time to get together soon.

    Your Christmas dinner looks fantastic. I love tiramisu and haven’t had it in ages.

    I’m glad you had a nice holiday (and that your photo book made it to your parents!), even if it wasn’t what you planned.

    1. I am so glad I got that photo book done! Ha! And should make tiramisu some time. I had forgotten how good it is :)

  5. How disappointing that your holiday plans were disrupted like that! I feel for all the families who were impacted by Southwest’s spiral. I’m happy you and Jon were able to still celebrate together – there is something sweet and intimate about it just being a small gathering!

    We went to my FIL’s house and all my husband’s siblings and their children where there, for a total of twenty-three human beings under one roof! It was the first time we had Christmas at this house since my FIL moved out of the home where my husband grew up and it was very hard for my husband and his siblings. But it was the polar opposite of your Christmas – loud, rambunctious, and there were no fancy place settings!

    1. Oh wow, 23 people! That’s a crowd. But I wish we would have the for the holidays (at least occasionally). It looked like a lot of fun :)

  6. I’m sorry that your MIL’s travel was impacted by all the travel snafus around Christmas. I was so relieved my sister wasn’t impacted – they came in on the 21st so missed all that trouble, and got to my parents before really bad weather hit. I was glad that we were not traveling around Christmas because the weather was HORRIBLE here. We got a bunch of snow, and then it was super windy and the windchills were -30F.

    My MIL wasn’t able to join us either as she was feeling under the weather. So I felt bad thinking of her being home alone for the holiday but we FaceTimed with her quite a bit.

    December mail is the best mail!!! :) Love seeing all your Christmas cards!

    1. I am also so glad that your sister wasn’t impacted by the travel chaos and you got to see her! I know you don’t see her that often.

  7. This looks so delightfully cozy– what a lovely Christmas.

  8. Your MIL not being able to make it, and so last minute, must have been so disappointing for her. You had a beautiful meal and each other, and she had to go home. BAH HUMBUG!

    Your Christmas looks like it was lovely! I love the ornament that your sister sent you, very cute. I love the napkins, they look like little Christmas trees!

    1. You’re right – I think it was more disappointing for my MIL than for us, because she had to go home alone. At least she had Christmas Eve with Jon’s brother + family though.

  9. A Virtual Snowman 10K run organized by my Peloton Streakers group? Oh that is one of the most unexpected Christmas events I’ve heard about yet. What fun. Your neighborhood looks lovely. I can see why you and everyone wants to visit during the holidays. As for our Christmas, it was the two of us which means relaxed and cozy and fun. I made English trifle for dessert, so there was that. Happy New Year, San!

    1. Thanks so much, Ally. It’s quite nice during the holiday season where we live :)

  10. Somehow we never talked about your Christmas dinner in details, I believe. Reading that now – my mouth is watering.
    Too bad Jon’s mom didn’t make it but at least you had leftovers of this delicious meal *trying to find the silver lining…..
    I know you guys made the best of it!

    1. We didn’t talk about dinner details? How did that happen??? LOL

  11. I love all your christmas photos! And your christmas card wall. Do people send photo cards in Germany or do they send more traditional cards? Here in the UK Everyone sends more traditional cards but we send photo cards. I like the photo cards because it’s lovely to get an update from all your friends… maybe we can make the photo trend catch on over here haha.

    Your christmas sound lovely even with the change of plans – I hope Jon gets to see his mom soon.

    1. Thank you Rachel. I think you’re right – photo cards are not very common in Europe (although my sister has kinda adopted the idea and sends a card with the kids every year. I love that. We should definitely make it more popular over there ;)

  12. That’s such a bummer that your MIL wasn’t able to spend Christmas with you guys, especially since you had made plans for it and everything! Southwest really messed up so many families’ holiday plans, which is really sad.

    Carriage rides to see the lights? Now, that’s something that just got added to my bucket list!

  13. I am so sorry Jon’s Mom didnt make it. I was wondering if a drive up as alternative would have been possible. I imagine it is somewhat the distance from Berlin-Munich, Berlin-Cologne, no?

    Anyway it looks like you made the best of it and had a cozy and charming Christmas. I love a fake fireplace – unfortunately I had it so much that the picture burnt itself in our tv. Now I can’t do it anymore.

    I love how you put up all the cars. Maybe some day Mine will make it on time… Haha

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