Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

December 24th, 2007

Christmas Eve

The mad rush to finish wrapping those unwrapped gifts and sorting to whom goes what has finally come to a close. Now it is time to clean house a bit, prepare the Christmas meal, set out the decorations and set-up and decorate the tree. Once all has been done then comes the Christmas sauna to relax and get new energy. After sauna the tasty meal is served and eaten with delight. Afterwards the gifts are opened. First those from other people and relatives then those from each other and finally any that Santa may have brought by that evening.

The price of Christmas trees this year are quite high. Many come from other places other than Finland. I have seen prices ranging from 10€ to 40€ for a 6' plus tree. This year we purchased our tree from the same farmer we got ours from last year. We paid 10€ for it. It is not a perfectly symmetrical tree, but then what is in nature? It was a Finnish tree from a forest nearby here in Espoo. It looks great standing in the corner decorated and lighted. That is all that counts, right?

The boys and Tiina decorated the tree while I finished wrapping a few gifts I had for them. I placed the star on it and lit it up. Seems to be my job and I don't mind it at all. I like decorating the tree too. But the kids like it even better so I let them be kids and have at it after all I already had my share of it as a kid.

The boys went to sauna first and then Tiina and I after the food was ready to be set on the table. In sauna Tiina and I shared a bottle of Joulu Lapin Kulta beer. I bought it because I liked the pretty white bottle. The beer was okay and served its purpose for the sauna. We had the birch oil in the water that is tossed on the rocks which made it smell like Christmas.

After sauna we had the first course of food which consisted of herring in mustard and wine sauce as well as herring Tiina prepared herself. There was cold smoked rainbow trout and cured Norwegian salmon (Graavi). We had liver pâté, hard boiled eggs, olives and pickles not to mention the rosolli = diced redbeet, pickles, onions and carrots topped with a non-sweetened whipped cream with a tad of beet juice to give it a faint, pink coloring and boiled potatoes.

The main course consisted of smoked turkey breast and a ham roll, mashed potatoes and gravy, and the traditional casseroles, rutabaga (lanttu), carrot (porkana), potato (peruna) and liver (maksa) without raisins. For the beverage we had a fine South African fruity white wine called Pearl Bay. Thanks Allan & Tea! The boys had apple cider.

After the meal and the table was cleared we retired to the living room to open the gifts. I think the boys had a nice Christmas this year. They seem to enjoy all of their presents equally well. They were very surprised to see that Santa brought them a few things that they had wished for. We all played until about two in the morning before calling it a day.

December 25th, 2007

Christmas Day

Today was spent at home in peace and quiet just watching TV or playing the Nintendo Wii or with the electric race car track. It brought back many nice memories of my own childhood.

We had a dark Christmas this year. No snow. It did rain some and it was quite windy. I never give up or gave up hope for a white Christmas. I am sure sometime soon we will get the snow. This picture was taken from our bedroom's door window just before Noon. A squirrel had been eating out of the feeder nearest the terrace. By the time I could fetch the camera it had gone away.

So thus wraps up another year of Christmas joy and happiness. We hope everyone had a Very Merry Christmas!!

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