This was our first Christmas without our families and, while I missed everyone, we managed to have a pretty great holiday. The fun began on Christmas Eve.
We invited our friend Erica over for a traditional Tofurky dinner, and she brought the makings for spiked soy nog. Both were delicious. After we ate, we took the dogs for a walk and saw that all the sidewalks in my neighborhood were lined with luminaria. I don't know who is behind this tradition - we actually live next to the neighborhood, as it is way out of our price range - but I really appreciated the effort. So pretty and festive!
The next morning, Nathan and I poured coffee, turned Pandora on to the classic Christmas station, set the Yule Log up on the television, and got to work opening gifts. We didn't have a lot of money to spend on each other this year, but we had managed to score a few thoughtful items. We also had tons of presents from our families - they'd been showing up on the doorstep all month long, and taunting me from their place under the tree. We got a lot of nice things - clothes, and some neat things for the kitchen, and more clothes (I really needed clothes). Even though we weren't with our families, their love and their personalities definitely came through.
After presents, we had mimosas (as is our tradition) and then I got to cooking. We had plans to get together with a few of my MFA friends, who were also in town for the holiday. I had suggested a Mideast-inspired dinner, mostly because I wanted to make lemony roasted potatoes, and everyone was kind enough to oblige me. We feasted, we drank, we played Apples to Apples and Catchphrase and Bananagrams, we drank some more, we had a White Elephant Gift Exchange, we drank just a little more. It was a great night, and I laughed so hard at some points that I cried. Now that is merry.
Chai Spice Snickerdoodle cookies - recipe here!
One of my prizes in the gift exchange. I love it!
I'm looking forward to getting back on the family visit rotation next year, because I really do love my crazy family (as well as Nathan's family) and I look forward to the few times each year we actually get to see them. But for 2012 - a year of intense school, a wedding, a nonexistent budget, a part time gig in retail, and general exhaustion - staying in Wilmington and celebrating with friends was pretty much perfect.
I hope that no matter who you were with or what you did, your celebration has been the same. Happy holidays!