I must admit, I found myself listening mostly to the wistful Christmas songs this year. I had a craving for "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - the real version, with the sad lyrics. Here's Judy Garland:
Isn't it beautiful, and melancholy? "I'll Be Home for Christmas" was big with me, too, for obvious reasons.
But really I haven't felt that sad - just not Christmasy. As I've mentioned, there are Christmas decorations everywhere on and off base, but neither of us felt like lugging a tree into our upstairs living room, or dragging out the lights. We didn't buy each other gifts this year, but made coupons to exchange with one another for chores and little favors, like making espresso in the morning. We got a few things - some nice gifts from family, but it was very low key this year.
Until last night!
For Christmas Eve, Nadine and John invited us and another couple over for a big fondue dinner. It was so sweet, and festive, and we all got into the spirit. They have a big real tree in the house, with red balls and a pretty silver garland. The house smelled like pine and cookies when we arrived - good sign! Around four o'clock the eight of us: Nadine, John, and Justine plus Josh and me, and another band member Daryl and his girlfriend Shiho, and their new baby David. Did you get all that? Here are some visual aids.I think we surprised John with that one - sorry buddy! I'm sorry I didn't get more pictures of Justine in her Christmas footie pajamas. She was the pinnacle of cute, and she looked SO BIG compared to David! She kept us entertained with coos and gurgles, and ate blueberry applesauce, and had a bath in the sink which was so cute I melted into a puddle on the floor.
Daryl and Shiho were so cute together, perfect new parents.
Nadine made incredible classic cheese fondue, plus a turmeric chicken broth and a beef and red wine broth fondue for dinner. She even baked fresh bread for dipping in the cheese, and laid out an impressive array of meats, shrimp, and red and green vegetables for the main event. After all that it was time for chocolate fondue with fruit and cheesecake for dipping - it's no wonder we were there for nine hours, huh?!
Oh, and in the midst of all that eating, I got to hold the baby. David is five weeks old, their first child, and didn't make a peep the whole time (in Japanese or English, haha). He still weighs less than ten pounds, and he fell asleep in my arms at the table.Who was a happy Mrs. Claus? I was, that's who.
After David and his parents had to go home for the night and Justine went to sleep, the four of us stayed up talking until it was Christmas! And then this morning Josh and I talked to our parents, opened a few gifts, and had some delicious espresso in the beautiful, brightly colored cups Mom and Dad sent.
Ooh! Speaking of which, another gift from Mom and Dad (besides Bertha, who is still getting regular workouts), was a cedar plank to cook fish on in the oven. Now, did they go buy cedar planks for their friends and family? No they did not.
They CUT DOWN A TREE, had it HEWN into PLANKS at a SAWMILL, SAWED it into boards, sanded it down for food safety, and made and printed instructions for using it. How cool is that?
So, anyway. Merry Christmas, everybody - enjoy your morning, your gifts, food, and family and friends. (Open the gifts, eat the food, hug the people - don't mix those up.) We miss our friends and family during this season, and Internet? You're in our hearts.