Thursday, December 30, 2010

25th of December

After waking up groggily on the 25th (what kind of a Christmas would it be without wine?) to my boyfriend tugging at me to get out of bed, I reluctantly got dressed and helped him load up the car.

I brought my new bag, which is the cutest little 60's inspired bag, and a quaint pair of silver heels. I was equipped in ballerinas for the car ride and unloading of the presents upon arrival. 

While still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes we headed out onto the roads. 

I was dressed in my favourie skirt and holding the wine we had not yet had time to drink the night before.

As Ireland had been blessed with heavy snowfall a few days before Christmas the roads were treacherous for the Irish tyres and it was quite the hassle getting over to Karl's dad's place. At one point the car started spinning when Karl wanted to break and I thought I would be meeting my maker. I didn't. 

Once all the presents were carried in my lovely shoes came on in an instant. 

Wine bottles were opened, beers were poured and my favourite drink was making it a lovely Christmas afternoon. 

Karl's sister has the fluffiest dog called Missy. She has endless amounts of energy and gets excited by the smallest things.

Karl - sober. You should have seen him later in the evening.

All the alcohol was chilling in the "freezer". 

Bruce Springsteen was played. The Irish love him and so do I.

Everybody just kind of sat around as we all waited for the two cooks to finish the preparation of our monstrous meal. Karl's brother Mark and his brother-in-law Paul were assigned the duty of making sure we would all be fed and contented at the end of the night. 

This is Karl at a young age. Please note the Hollywood type dreamy, golden locks. 

Mark and Karen have recently become proud parents to the darling little Leah.

I posed with Jessica. 

The Irish are very fond of Corn on the cob as a starter. 

I am not the biggest fan of red wine but found myself enjoying the French Merlot that had been purchased for Christmas. 

Dinner was tasty! This is what a standard Irish Christmas Dinner looks like: Mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, croquettes, mashed carrots and parsnips, brussels sprouts and a double load of meat by including both ham and turkey. Drench your entire plate with gravy and you're good to go!

Corina taking pictures of everybody.

Everybody posing for pictures! Me, Corina, Jessica (Corina's daughter), Tony (Karl's younger brother), Natalie (Tony's girlfriend) and Leah. 


We all pulled Christmas crackers and got lovely yet very flimsy paper crowns to wear.

Corina had made trifle but left the custard out. Yummy, but not unhealthy enough!


After dinner we sat down in the living room and exchanged Christmas presents. 

Jessica had a very cute doll with a very large head. 


I got a pair of Bumble Bee slippers from Corina. I love them!! They are so cute!


Later on in the evening there was a bit more desert for those that could still stuff down more food. 

The Christmas lights were turned on and I sat in bliss watching the lights and leaning into Karl. 

We all sat around for quite a while, drinking wine and talking about most things between the earth and the moon. I remember having riled up discussion with Karl's dad but I don't particularly remember what they were about. It was a very nice evening and as people started leaving, couple by couple, Karl prepared a makeshift bed for us on the floor. 

We slept on sofa cushions that were layed out to form a mattress and had pillows and a big warm duvet. It was the teeniest bit uncomfortable but I enjoyed being able to sleep next to Karl quite peacefully, and not having to fight foor room in the available single bed upstairs. We had to stay over as we live quite a bit from Karl's dad and a taxi would have been very expensive, especially during Christmas, in the snow.

I had a lot of fun and got a little bit closer to everybody, as I always do when spending time with Karl's family. I feel a bit left out when around them, as there are so many of them and they are all close amongst themselves. In time I hope I will be one of them, and that night I only felt a little bit like an outsider.

24th of December

If you are dating an Irishman, you face the argument of when to celebrate Christmas. Most of the world agrees with me that Christmas Dinner should be had and presents should be opened on the 24th of December. My boyfriend finds this a strange notion and instead waits until the following day until he lets his festive cheer loose.

As it would be damn near criminal for me to not be allowed to celebrate "My" Christmas, it so was decided that we would celebrate a Finnish Christmas on the 24th and an Irish Christmas on the 25th. In my head I saw all plans of an under-indulgent (as opposed to the usual over-indulgent) Christmas with less calories quickly fade away, but in aftermath I didn't gain as much weight as I had imagined I would. 

I had a wonderful Christmas but it feels as if it passed too quickly. I'm already looking forward to next year's Christmas!! Anyway, here is how my Christmas passed by.

Me and Karl had planned to get up early and have breakfast and start preparing dinner around noon-ish.

We woke up around noon-ish, had a wonderful (but not for the faint hearted) Irish breakfast, and started dinner a lot later than planned.

As it was Christmas the kittens were spoiled and received yummy treats that they gulped down as quickly as possibly, while growling to keep the others at away.

I opened one present before dinner and open the others after dinner. Dinner felt a bit like a catastrophy, as I was supposed to make it, (in order to make it Finnish) but Karl wound up doing it as I got stuck on the phone with my mother for an hour and a half. He constantly urges me to call my mother as I don't keep in contact with her enough, and whenever we do speak we talk for hours and hours. At about 97 minutes I had kept the phonecall short this time!

Dinner didn't quite get captured in photographs, as we were both too eager in gulping it down, much like the kittens with their treats earlier. 

As my stomach settled a bit later in the evening I had some traditionally Christmasy Risgrynsgröt with fruit soup. Basically Rice Pudding with fruit soup. I know that it doesn't look very appetizing in the picture (it never does) but Karl had a taste and thought it was very Christmasy indeed and he quite liked it. 

There was loads of chocolate. Mmmmm. We had gone to IKEA the night before and gotten some Swedish chocolate as well, as this would be the closest thing to the Finnish chocolate I am so used to have during Christmas. 

The rest of the evening was incredibly lazy. Hibernating our behinds on the couch while watching Christmas TV and later spent in bed reading magazines. 

I got Karl a media player and I got a few smaller things, as I had advised Karl that the only thing I wanted for Christmas was a DSLR camera. Money has been a bit tight this Christmas so he promised me I could expect my present in January on payday. 

I can't wait until January!

I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas as we did!


Monday, December 27, 2010

The end of Christmas

I'm sad that January and the New Year is creeping up as Christmas is my favourite time of the year.

What could be better than staying indoors with the people you care for the most, with treacherously cold winds blowing outside? Presents being exchanged, great food being enjoyed, surrounding you with smells and tastes that take you back to the simpler times of your childhood... Christmas will forever be able to turn me into a big child and I will always dread the end of the Holiday, the big sentimental sop that I am.

I want to share my favourite Christmas song with you, "The first Noel" sung by the wonderful Mahalia Jackson:

I will also share Karl's favourite Christmas song, "Fairytale of New York" sung by The Pogues and Kirsty McColl:

If you go out in Ireland during Christmas, this is the song that is played as the last song, just before closing time. This is why the song symbolizes the ending of something for me, so it is with a heavy heart that I am posting it.

I haven't shared all the photographs from this year's Christmas so those are still to come. I will be drenching you in Christmas spirit shortly!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas...

Merry Christmas everybody!

I have been too busy enjoying my Christmas Holiday and haven't had a chance to wish everybody a wonderful Christmas yet. I do however hope you have been enjoying yours as much as I have been enjoying mine!