I didn’t really do much for Christmas last year. As a matter of fact, I didn’t wrap one present, purchase any gift certificates, or hang any decorations –2010 was a rough year. But my husband Allen’s family had planned a visit for January. His Mom, Dad, Sister Megan, her two kids Blaise & Payton, and a close friend of the family Mr. Gordon, were all coming to Phoenix for a week to celebrate Christmas with us. We decided we were going to have a traditional Christmas Eve dinner, and even make homemade pierogi like we used to every year when we still lived back in PA. It was a second chance… Christmas in January!
The week before they came, we did a ton of cleaning. Then we dug out the decorations. We used to have a fake Christmas tree, but we never had room for it in the tiny condo we used to own, so we got rid of it a couple of years ago. And even if there had been real Christmas trees still available in January, I wouldn’t have bought one anyway.
I really dislike real Christmas trees. It’s not the trees themselves, it’s the obnoxious waste. It can take up to 6 years to grow a 6ft tree. That’s 6 years of watering, fertilizing and pruning. Then it’s chopped down, shipped to a tree lot, and if it’s lucky, bought by someone who only uses it for about 2 weeks. Then, in the tragic end, it is thrown out and ends up in a landfill. It’s horrific.
So I opted for a space saving, natural resource protecting, modernist interpretation tree.
OK. So maybe it does use some energy. But there’s only 3 strings of lights there and considering most people use about that many, or more, on a real Christmas tree, it’s still a winner. PLUS, in my version, a tree didn’t have to die.
Anyway, Allen’s family came in on Friday. Saturday night we made pierogi but unfortunately I went completely brain-dead and forgot to take pictures. 😦 Such a shame too, because it’s actually a fun process.
Sunday was a storm of cooking and baking. Back in December (Christmas for realsies), I had an idea to make Christmas Tree cupcakes using star shaped cakes. I made them for our Christmas party at work and everyone seemed to like them so I made them again.
I’ll be posting a tutorial for them soon. Although I guess there’s no rush since Christmas is still 335 days away.
After hogging up the kitchen for most of the afternoon with my baking project, I finally cleaned up and got out of the way. Allen and his Mom & Dad started cooking up a storm. Allen’s Dad made this delicious cracker coated fried cod. YUM. And Mr. Gordon, Allen & his Dad had also made fresh Horseradish earlier that day, so we made some cocktail sauce to go with the fish. DOUBLE YUM. The feast was quickly approaching!
Here’s a pretty picture of the table before all the mindless nomming and face stuffing commenced.
When the food was ready and everyone found their seats, I wanted to get a great shot of the whole family at the table. I had to mess with my camera for a bit and everyone was starting to get antsy. There was all this scrumptious food sitting on the table in front of them and I kept trying to get “the perfect photo”. So this is what I ended up with.
Clockwise: My Mom, My Gramm, Clara, Mr. Gordon, Blaise, Allen's Mom, Megan, Payton, Allen's Dad, Margie, Barry, My Dad, Allen
Not too bad. But I love how half the table’s faces read: “FOR THE LOVE OF BABY JESUS, can we just eat already?”. HAHAHA! Oh, and I didn’t make it in the picture because my Canon only has a 2 second timer and I couldn’t run around the counter fast enough. (sigh)
On a yummier note, dinner was delicious. I hadn’t had pierogi in quite a few years and I ended up over doing it a bit. I just couldn’t resist all the buttery, cheesy potato-filled goodness. But that’s what gyms and elastic waisted pants are for.
After dinner, out came the Christmas Tree Cakes and the camera.
My Gramm, Margie, My Mom, and Clara-bug
Allen’s Mom HATES getting her picture taken. I tried to take this one really quick but she has ninja-like reflexes, and hid behind her own camera.
Margie, Allen's Mom
My Mommy! ❤
Ha! I finally caught her off guard.
The boys went outside and made a fire like a bunch of cavemen. lol
My Dad, Allen, Allen's Dad, Barry, Mr. Gordon
My Dad, Allen, Allen's Dad
Christmas in January was a success! Actually, I enjoyed it more than real Christmas. There was no manic last minute shopping, no frustration with trying to find that “perfect gift”, and no ugly sweaters to return. I had a really great weekend and wouldn’t trade it for all the pristinely wrapped presents in the world. Even a shiny new iPad would never have had me laughing as loud, smiling as big, or feeling as grateful for my family and friends as I did this January. Beat that Apple.