Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Merry Christams! (hoping that the multiple greetings appropriately convey how excited I was/am about the holiday season)
After three years away from home during Christmas-time, I (kim) was pretty stoked to be back in a place that actually feels like i remember this time of year feeling — snow (of which there has been plenty), cold (unbearable until re-discovering long underwear), and radio stations that play Christmas music non-stop. And things decorated in red and green. Potentially overwhelming? yes, BUT, with our current lifestyle (i.e., unemployed) I could choose how much I wanted to expose myself to the commercial madness of the outside world, which turned out to be very little. So while we didn’t spend our enthusiasm for the season monetarily, I definitely harnessed the spirit and went to town in the kitchen (roping my husband in as well, of course). To modify for all those current and former Malawi dwellers to appreciate): I baked having to make NO substitutions to recipes, using 4 functional stove-top burners, having to make minimal (if any) adjustments for humidity, and with chocolate that was already chipped. (Insert sigh of contentment). I baked, Bjørn decorated, and tupperwares of sugar cookies, egg nog logs, nut strudel, peanut blossoms, church windows and whatever else has become Leyrer tradition in the last couple of decades made it to the freezer for safe-keeping. I don’t even want to know how many blocks of butter I went through (although I’m sure the scale will let me know in a couple of days)
Ummm, I definitely want to point out to anyone who may be reading this that the only way these weeks of baking were possible is due to our access to lots of spare hours and a fully stocked kitchen. I have no hopes of recreating this once we have other ways to fill our time.
The baking is one thing; what makes this the craftiest Christmas ever is the OTHER random stuff we made. My mom came home from her first graders with a big bowl of ornament-making-dough. So we made ornaments. You’ve already seen the gingerbread house — look long and hard at those pictures, because that was like a 3 day process of mixing, baking, and constructing. All contruction credit goes to Bjørn… as well as all credit for the creative touches (e.g. birds, dogs, and nuclear reactors present. Yeah, I don’t know either). THEN we had to paint the ornaments we made, digging up oil paints from my great-grandmother that somehow my parents had. (Incidentally, this reinforced to me that it’s okay to keep stuff for a long time because you never know when you’ll need it.) And Bjørn made a CD of Christmas music he’s collected. I felt like I was 7 years old leading guests around to show them the things we’d made–like it justified us not having jobs or something. (insert eye roll)
ANYWAY, creating is exhausting enough, but throw days of entertaining and filling platters and chopping things and last minute shopping on top of that, and, well, you have post-Christmas exhaustion. Couldn’t get out of bed this morning. Still haven’t changed out of my pajamas. Guiltily thinking about my siblings who are back to work today, but getting over it by eating cookies.
All in all, really enjoyed all the craziness. Especially emotional this year (cried through several church services), but focused on appreciating how much family I’ve been blessed with and how much of them I’ve gotten to see, how blessed I am to have married a man that doesn’t mind spending time decorating cookies and making ornaments (or at least pretends he doesn’t), and how thankful I am to be healthy and home with the ones that I love. (The last of my brothers came home today, and, of course, Bjørn and I still appreciate the days that we’re on the same continent.) Jul greetings to our Norwegian family — can’t wait for the marzipan next year!
Sigh. Now I’m crying again.
Peace out, and Merry Christmas!