Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Ready to hear about our Christmas celebration here in New York? We had a lovely time together, although (as always) we definitely missed being with family.
Our plan was to spend a quiet Christmas Eve at home together before going to church at 10:30 p.m., then on Christmas day we were gong to cook up our big lasagna dinner. Well, as we were relaxing around the house on Christmas Eve, we got a call from our friend Jose. He had been planning to fly home to Florida that day but his flight was so overbooked that when he arrived an hour and a half before his departure time, they had no seats left for him. No "are you willing to give up your seat?" - just "sorry, you're out of luck." They were able to fit him onto a flight for early Christmas morning, but that meant he was stuck in the city for Christmas Eve. So, he called us and said "Let's do something Christmas-y." And we are always game for that!
So, we flipped our plans around a little and decided to do our big dinner Christmas Eve with Jose. We spent the rest of the afternoon taking care of some things around the house, then went to meet up with Jose at Washington Square Park. They were having a big carol-sing around the Christmas tree, and there were a lot of people there! It was a nice way to kick off the evening.
After the caroling, we went back to our apartment and Eric put the lasagna in the oven. We enjoyed some wine (or Jameson, in Jose's case), cheese, crackers, and pepperoni (we're sort of on a kick with that!), and good conversation. Then we dined on Eric's delicious lasagna, made with his homemade sauce. I swear, every time he makes it, it gets better! Delicious.
After dinner, we chatted for a while longer until we had to leave for church. We walked with Jose back to the subway then continued on to church. We did make a stop to watch those musical stars in Columbus Circle again, because I love them!
Church was lovely. I just love the Christmas Eve service. Silent Night brings tears to my eyes every time - and even more so this year because I was really missing family. But, everything was beautiful and I really enjoyed it. After church we made our way home and stayed up a while longer before heading to bed.
Christmas morning we woke up and opened up our stockings and ornaments before breakfast. I think I mentioned last year that Eric and I exchange ornaments every year. I love this tradition, and it has really helped us grow our ornament collection, plus we have been bringing ornaments back from our vacations as well. When we first bought our tree, we bought boxes of generic ball ornaments to fill it. But now, with every passing year, we put fewer and fewer balls on the tree as our personal collection grows. It's nice to start being able to pull out ornaments and say "oh, I remember this!" This year, Eric got me another awesome ornament - a mini potato masher! Does he know me or what?! Plus, my stocking was stuffed with truffles (my favorite) and a little sewing kit containing a thimble, which I had been saying I needed for the cross-stitch I'm currently working on. He's so thoughtful and knows me so well!
After our stockings/ornaments, we cooked up some French Toast for breakfast before finishing the gift-opening. Eric was just so thoughtful with his gifts for me this year - he got me a great loose tea set (I love tea), including a tea maker, timer, two tins of loose tea (peach and gojiberry), and another tin of tea bags (chocolate truffle). He also got me a pearl ring I have been wanting, the EA Sports Active game I wanted plus purple accessories for it, and books about the art of writing. He just really thought about my likes/interests and came up with some good gifts I wasn't necessarily expecting. Way to go, Eric! I got him the Wii Sports Resort game he wanted, an Olympics t-shirt, crossword puzzle daily calendar, some Gators cold-weather wear, Hangover DVD, and a Sunday golf bag, which is like a mini golf bag for just carrying a few clubs - much easier for him to carry out to the driving range. We had a nice Christmas!
We also got to open up gifts from my dad, and a box of gifts my sister Heather sent from her cruise, which included trinkets and souvenirs from all over the place (wine stopper from Venice, a necklace from Athens, an ornament from Gibraltar, fruit juice from Dominica, and a Caribbean Christmas CD for Eric, also from Dominica). It was so nice to read a letter from her, too. Speaking of Heather - I'll be posting an update on her travels most likely next week, so stay tuned for that!
That afternoon we ate some more cheese and crackers, plus some delicious shrimp. Before long, however, it was time for me to get ready and head out to Port Authority to catch my airport bus for my trip to Cleveland. I was sad to leave Eric, but he was staying behind and at least we did get most of the day together before I left.
All in all, we had a great Christmas together in New York. I'll say the same thing I said at Thanksgiving - although we miss our families so much at the holidays, it is nice to build our own traditions together. I think we do a good job of making our celebration feel homey even though we're so far away.
I hope you all had a great Christmas, as well. Stay tuned for my Cleveland recap!