Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas for Two...

...well, three if you count Oscar!

This year for Christmas - having just visited our families in Baltimore for Thanksgiving and not feeling like we'd get to have quality visits with our families with the 17 places they all needed to be today and tomorrow (seriously, some of their "itineraries" read like war plans!) - we decided we were staying home for Christmas this year.  Couple that with the fact that my last work day for 2011 was back on Friday, December 16th and it's been a bit of a Christmas stay-cation here at The Homestead.  And you know what?  It's been lovely!  But I'll get to all of that in another blog post...this is about Christmas!

Yesterday - Christmas Eve - I got up early and was out of the house by 8 AM.  I stopped at Wegmans to pick up a few last minute stocking stuffers for Chris, as well as a few accoutrements for our Christmas meals.  From there I ran over to Kohl's to pick up two last minute gifts.  I was in and out of Wegmans and Kohl's by 9 AM and on my way downtown to Designer's Denn for my Christmas Eve "signature facial."  It was wonderful!  Before my services got underway, I spent some time relaxing and sipping cucumber water in the "quiet room" where they have a rain wall and candles.  My facial started with a back massage; followed by all of the cleansing, toning, and moisturizing of the facial; and also included a face massage and a paraffin wax hand treatment.  Afterward, I spent a little more time in the "quiet room" sipping a green tea and just thinking - about how wonderful it had been to have our Christmas Open House the week prior, how nice it was to be "done" with all of the rush stuff (baking, wrapping, decorating, etc.), and how this facial (or a similarly relaxing spa service) could become my new Christmas Eve norm!  

Following my facial, I came home and whipped up the breakfast casserole for this morning.  And by "whipped up" I mean I took my sweet time...I was still quite loosey-goosey from my spa treatments.  Following that, I made my bruschetta pizza bites for our game time snack while watching the Steelers game.  

Breakfast casserole ready to be refrigerated overnight.

Slice a baguette, toast the slices under the broiler, top with Wegmans bruschetta topping and a slice of fresh mozzarella.  Broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Enjoy!
After the Steelers game ended, I walked next door to drop off a pound cake and some coconut marshmallows to the next door neighbors.  Chris and Oscar drove over to pick me up and we rode to the Mondocks to drop off a pound cake to them, as well as a thank you note from Oscar to Marissa (she sent a present to Oscar with her parents when they came to our Open House last weekend).  We visited with Tara and Marty for a few minutes; they were getting ready to eat dinner, so we didn't stay long.  Just wanted to pop over, drop off dessert, and bid our friends a Merry Christmas!

When we got back home, I started working on our own Christmas Eve dinner - roasted Cornish game hens, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy.  It was delicious!

A delicious Christmas Eve dinner for two.
Following dinner, I poured our traditional Christmas Eve drinks - eggnog for Chris and Kahlua and cream for me.  We then settled in to watch "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."  We followed that up with "Sabado Gigante" which is quickly becoming our favorite program to watch on Saturday nights!  I only pick up bits and pieces of the dialogue, but we both still find it wildly entertaining!  Not wanting to risk Santa skipping our house because we were still awake, we went to bed just before 11 PM.

This morning, we woke up a little after 7 AM, but didn't get out of bed until 8.  "The Clarks were nestled...all snug in our bed."  All three of us were under the covers (we just made the switch to flannel sheets yesterday) and were quite snuggly and warm!  Finally, excitement and anticipation got the best of Chris and we decided to get up.  We came down, let Oscar out, preheated the oven, put on the tea kettle, and lit the Christmas tree.  Once Oscar was back inside, the casserole in the oven, a hot tea brewed, and the stockings removed from the banister, it was time to open presents!

We started with our stockings and we got each other the typical stocking fodder - candy, lip balm, toothbrush, a lighter, razor blades, and Advil PM for Chris; Kleenex, hairspray, cotton rounds, mousse, and an orchid for me.  Yup!  I got a mini-orchid!  Not exactly IN my stocking, but nearby!  Next, we let Oscar open a few presents.  He makes out like a bandit every year!  He got a package of treat in his stocking, followed by another package of treats as a wrapped gift.  He got two wrapped boxes of cookies - one box of flavored Milk Bones and one box of Scooby Snacks.  Finally, he got a new Flying Squirrel and a stuff lion, which was quickly named "Brian the Flyin' Lion" since it will surely been very soon that Brian is shaken and flies through the air in the living room!

Oscar opens a package of treats.

Oscar waits patiently for more presents.

Oscar wrangles his new stuffed lion out of its gift bag.

Chris shows off his new pork pie hat.

My boys.

Chris and I took turns opening our gifts.  Chris gave me an Annalee Christmas walrus, a SilpatXacto knife set, a helping hand magnifier, and a pork pie hat.  Oscar gave Chris a Swiss Army toiletry bag, which Chris graciously accepted despite the fact that he already has an LL Bean one.  But there was a method to my and Oscar's madness - and it came in the form of Chris' final gift.

Yup.  I got Chris a cannon!  Chris' friend, Jerry, has a cannon and every since the camping trip when Jerry fired the cannon a few times, Chris has been researching small cannons and talking about getting one someday.  Little did he know that shortly after the camping trip, I e-mailed Jerry and asked if his brother-in-law would be able to make one for Chris.  The answer was (obviously) yes and Jerry brought the cannon over last weekend when he and Leisa came to our party.  We need to get a few more accoutrements from Lowe's tomorrow - a dowel rod and some mounting blocks - and then we'll make the neighborhood go boom!  (The toiletry bag Oscar bought for Chris was meant to be a storage bag for the cannon; it even has a compartment on the bottom with small bottles where Chris can keep premeasured black powder!)

Just as we finished opening our presents, the oven beeped to indicate breakfast was ready.  We each enjoyed a piece of breakfast casserole and a cranberry-orange muffin for breakfast and then it was off to the showers.  Once we were cleaned up and dressed, I called my mom and brother, while Chris' mom called him.  We watched the Disney Parks Christmas Parade until 2 PM when we had lunch and watched the Annie Moses Band perform on PBS.  I bought a split turkey breast and a small boneless ham for our Christmas "meats" as well as some macaroni salad and some Cole slaw, so we fixed sandwiches and had some salads.

Yummy breakfast casserole and clean cranberry-orange muffins.

Just enough "Christmas meats" for two.
My handsome boys!

We left the house at 3:20 for a 4 PM showing of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."  I knew that movie theaters were open on Christmas Day, but I never knew just how busy they are.  Well, no...wait.  That's a lie, I guess.  Thinking about it just now, I do remember driving down I-95 coming home from Aunt Beverly's house on Christmas night and seeing how packed the movie theater at White Marsh used to be.  Anyhoo...the College 9 theater was quite crowded and our theater was probably 75% full (Chris says 68.5% full).  The movie was great!  Mind you, I've not finished reading the book yet (although I will...soon!) and I've not seen the original Swedish versions...but what we saw this afternoon, we both really enjoyed!

From the movie theater, we drove down Atherton Street - noting that the College Buffet was open in case our intended destination was not.  Thankfully, we found the lights on and the staff happy at the Authentic China Wok at Northland Center.  Chris got a General Tso's combo and I got a beef-broccoli combo to go.  We came home with our Chinese take-out and watched 60 Minutes while we enjoyed our Christmas dinner!

Pork fried rice, beef-broccoli, an egg roll, and a fortune cookie.

Chris gets ready to snarf on some General Tso noms!
Now we're chilling on the couches watching the Packers/Bears game while Oscar snoozes in his chair.  Ahhhhh!!!  What a fantastic Christmas!  We certainly missed seeing our families today, but we'd rather wait and see them when we'll all have some quality time together rather than harried itineraries.  I'd rather spend quality time with our families on an ordinary weekend than a rushed visit "just because it's Christmas."  I said to Chris earlier, "Not to disregard all of the time we've spent with our families over the years at Christmas, but I really think this has been one of the best Christmases."  We did what we wanted, when we wanted.  We didn't have to pack up our suitcases and all of Oscar's stuff and drive three hours...and then try to squeeze in visits with two families with multiple relatives who have other places to be/people to see.  We're not someone(s) for whom our family members will change their plans to make sure they see us; we get that.  So rather than try to cater to everyone else's schedules, we made up our own...and we loved it! 

Our 2011 Christmas tree.

Celebrating our 19th Christmas together - and our first one "just the two of us."
Merry Christmas from Beth & Chris!

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