We celebrated our first Christmas in Germany, with D's family when his brother & sister-in-law were stationed at Ramstein. The next Christmas was in Indiana with my family, right before our wedding. Four Christmases in Okinawa (the first one with my mom!) and this year, we celebrated Christmas in the Arctic Circle! Just like Santa!
Christmas is kind of bittersweet since being with my family was always really what Christmas meant to me... so we always try to make it really special no matter where we are or who we are with.
I make our Christmas candles, like my Grandma (pineapple slice, banana & maraschino cherry), and I buy frozen pierogi and tamales. They're not even close to being as good as the homemade ones, but they'll have to do! We watch A Christmas Story, and we open our presents on Christmas Eve (that may be David's favorite tradition that I introduced him to!), then check out what Santa brings us on Christmas morning. He always puts an orange, a mini-notepad and scotch tape in our stockings, just like he does at my Grandma's house.
And we've added to the mix: decorating our tree with Christmas music and always putting the same three ornaments up first, celebrating the first Christmas card we get in the mail, Christmas Pasta on Christmas Eve, and breakfast casseroles on Christmas morning. Last year, we hosted dinner on Christmas Eve, so we put opening presents on hold until our guests left, because I love the way the tree looks with the wrapped presents underneath it. When the guests weren't leaving (a bunch of guys playing Rock Band), I left and went out for a run. I WISH I could make that a Christmas tradition, a Christmas lights run at 11pm on Christmas Eve...but we're not in Okinawa anymore, so I don't think it would be warm enough (or safe enough) to do that!
Well, this year was a little bit different......
First of all, David didn't have a tree in Greenland.
So I had to stuff ours in my suitcase:
Heehee... David had the idea (I had it too, he just said it faster than me!) to use his projector to put a picture of our tree up on the wall, with the presents underneath it! It was pretty cool!
We opened our presents on Christmas Eve.....well, the rest of them anyway, because it's so hard to wait! We are secretly 7 years old. But we hadn't opened any of the presents my mom sent, so we still had all of those and a few from each other left to open. Then, we went to play board games with a few people in another dorm building. As is typical, I totally rocked Taboo. Everyone was impressed. Then we went back to David's dorm for Christmas dinner. We took a plate of cookies. David had asked me to make Christmas Pasta, but I would've had to pack or mail the ingredients and I just didn't get around to it. Plus it wouldn't have been the same because I wouldn't have had Italian sausage, just ground beef. And Italian sausage makes me so much happier than ground beef. Yum. So we missed it this year...maybe we'll have Christmas in July? Anyway, had I made Christmas Pasta 1---it would've been too many cooks in the tiny little kitchen and 2---we would've all gone into carbo-coma! There was lasagna and spaghetti and garlic bread. And that was the menu. So David and I were certainly the only ones who even noticed that the Christmas Pasta was missing!
We also didn't have Christmas candles, but we did have plenty of cookies!
The people on D's floor did a Secret Santa gift exchange, and as I had mentioned before on here, my Secret Santa had to leave unexpectedly. D took 2 presents from "under" our tree and put them under the tiny tree in the day room for me. The guy I bought for was excited about his gifts...especially the homemade Buckeyes! His list of suggestions was "Ohio State t-shirts, Ohio State sweatshirts, Ohio State slippers". I bought the gifts for D's guy too, who listed "Chicago Bears" and that's it. He liked his new shirts & hat so much that he went and changed into them before going to work karaoke at the club! Everytime I saw him after that, he was wearing his new Bears hat (thanks, Mom, for sending it!)
After that, we went to the club, because it was Thursday and therefore, Karaoke night. David is apparently pretty much the karaoke star of Thule! People kept telling me what a great singer he is and how they hate singing after him. :) I think the first song he sang that night was Push by Matchbox 20. I couldn't tell you all the others he sang because he sang tons of them! We were there for a long time and later in the evening, D went up to sing another song. I heard him say, "If you've been out here recently, you know that I've been practicing a song to sing to my wife. If you haven't met her yet, she's that beautiful girl sitting back there." And then I didn't know what to do, so I just kind of waved. And all the girls at the table said, "aawwww" and David sang "Home" by Michael Buble'. It was the sweetest thing. He sang it so well and the words were just perfect. I love that song, I love Michael Buble, and I love David, so I was really about to cry! I had tears filling my eyes the whole time.
Here's some of the words:
Another aeroplane, another sunny place, I'm lucky I know, but I want to go home I've got to go home
Let me go home, I'm just too far, from where you are, I want to come home
And I feel just like I'm living someone else's life. It's like I just stepped outside when everything was going right
And I know just why you could not come along with me, this was not your dream, but you always believed in me
Another winter day has come and gone away in even Paris and Rome I want to go home. Let me go home.
And I'm surrounded by a million people I still feel alone, let me go home Oh I miss you you know
Let me go home, I've had my run, Baby I'm done, I gotta go home. Let me go home, it'll all be alright, I'll be home tonight, I'm comin' back home.
Anyway, I told David that that was the best gift of Christmas. I had heard the song (it's been on my iPod for quite some time) and thought that the words were fairly appropriate to our situation, but to have had David hear the song, think the words fit, and learn it and practice it so he'd be able to sing it for me was just so touching. Now I cry everytime I hear the song! :)
We stayed at the club a little while after that too and sang a few more songs. I even made my stage debut with David. Only because there was only one other person besides us in the room by this point. Then I went up again because I wanted David to sing Sweet Caroline, just so I could do the "bah-bah-baaah" parts. Let me tell you, I was a huge hit! The crowd came back after that and David sang a few more songs too.
On Christmas day, I woke up before David, but didn't peek at the presents from Santa (he always hides them underneath blankets, one for me and one for David). When he got up, we saw what Santa had brought... he brought me a new camera, which I really wasn't expecting (I had already gotten a digital piano/keyboard as an early Christmas present!) and he brought David a NY Giants jersey.
We went outside and took some pictures before we went to the chow hall for dinner. Christmas dinner was turkey, ham, cranberries, stuffing, potato-leek soup, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes. It was yummy and I had been looking forward to it all week, especially since I hadn't had Thanksgiving dinner this year!
The little tree at the Dundas Buffet Restaurant (aka chow hall)
Me and Santa's sleigh! It's actually an old sleigh that was found in Sept 2005 (?) at the polar ice cap.
Does it look kinda cold & windy?
I thought it was freezing (well, below freezing!) at -17. I talked to D yesterday and he said it was -50!!!! OMG!
Christmas day night, we went to the community center for game night and played with our new Wii game (Family Game Night 2) and then switched to Apples 2 Apples which was lots of fun.
So, to make a really really long story (sorry!) short, we had a unique, but still very merry Christmas! And we didn't have to break our streak!