Second Christmas Day

The title of this post makes me think of Hobbits who have second breakfasts!

2nd breakfast

As I mentioned in my post last night, Second Christmas Day, December 26th, is reserved for my family. But first this morning, Mr Esther made us another nice brunch at home for just the four of us…

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In the afternoon it was off to my mom’s. Her house is filled with candles and I had a Christmas cake made…

My mom always does a reading and a little speech for the family. My older sister, who is Jewish, also lit the fifth Hanukkah candle…

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We also commemorate loved ones we have lost and everyone lights one candle in memory, Mr Esther was the first one to light a candle.

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At the end of the evening our memorial shrine looked like this, with pictures of the loved ones lost accompanying the candles. The paintings are paintings my mother did of Mary and Mary with child.

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We had gifts to exchange which my daughter (in all black) and her cousin (in the pink top) handed out to people.

We had a buffet dinner, everyone had brought something…

… and we ended with a little candle ceremony, wishing each other a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in song.

It was a lovely, warm afternoon and evening and I know that, unlike many other people, I am very lucky to have family like that to spend it with! In all honesty, though, at the end of it all I was tired of all the socializing and celebrating we’ve been doing for the past 3 days and it’s good to be home again, on my couch, unwinding. Tomorrow is a day with very few plans and that is good…

Christmas Eve/Day and Richard

This year Mr Esther and I have not been that into Christmas. He has been so busy and a little stressed at work with some big projects he has been managing and I am only just recovering from that vertigo thing I’ve been dealing with these past few months. We just didn’t have the energy to dig out all the Christmas decor from our attic and do up a big Christmas tree. So, we bought a little tree in a pot (quite sustainable too, we thought, as we can put it in our garden after the holidays and maybe use it again next year!) that needed only a few small decorations. Mr Esther did go all out hanging lights in our back and front gardens. So, this is Christmas for us this year…

Christmas at our house has turned into this three day thing, starting yesterday evening for us.  Yesterday, on Christmas Eve, we had a good friend of ours over for dinner and her sister. Mr Esther is an only child and over the years these ladies have sort of become Mr Esther’s “sisters”. As they have already sadly lost their parents we have had them over for Christmas Eve dinner these past two or three years and it’s becoming a little tradition of its own. This was yesterday afternoon as the evening came, with the table all ready and set for dinner:

Mr Esther is the only one who does the cooking at our house (he likes it way more than I do and I clean up). We played some games while Mr Esther prepared the main meal…

… and we had a lovely dinner (my mini-not-me daughter had helped prepare the first course avocado mousse with salmon and salmon eggs).

During the evening I also saw my first Christmas gift come in: Richard Armitage’s Christmas message on Twitter.

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Some messages in the past have been so-so but this one I really liked. And I recognize the point he’s at in his life, it’s similar point I’m at myself. He wonders what one person can do to make a difference and that he has an idea… I wonder if we’ll ever find out what that idea is? Sustainability and planting trees seems to be on his mind as well, which I like. And yes, I will be there for Uncle Vanya! Richard also posted a picture of himself on Instagram

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These sure are nice gifts to start Christmas off with!

Here in The Netherlands we have two Christmas days, today (the 25th) is the first. This morning Mr Esther set up a nice Christmas breakfast for us and we then went on to unwrap a few gifts…

The gifts we do are quite modest but I had some lovely ones! A David Bowie 2020 calendar, perfume, a black case for my computer/reading glasses that I acquired not long ago, a voucher for the cinema and Mr Esther got me Michael Palin’s diary of a journey to North Korea, personally signed for me!

Late afternoon we went over to my in-laws for drinks and then dinner. As Mr Esther is an only child, it’s just the four of us and his parents. To liven things up a little I brought games for the kids and I (and occasionally Mr Esther) to play (the in-laws don’t do games) and for dinner we all table grilled.

Tomorrow is the second Christmas day (the 26th) and the final part of our Christmas. We go to my mother’s apartment to celebrate with my side of the family, which is always far more lively as I have loads of brothers and sisters with some of us having families of our own. So, Christmas isn’t over yet at our house and it is going well so far. I hope it’s nice for all of you too!

Happy Holidays!

Happy (third day of) Hanukkah…

… and Merry Christmas to everyone reading this!

Hope the holidays bring you warmth and love…

… which I am also sending your way!

xo, Esther