Saturday, December 17, 2011

Things Will Be Different

How do you start a post about your upcoming first Christmas away from home? 

I know plenty of people have to be away from their families at Christmas either by choice or by force (or simply inconvenience). And I guess I'm one of them now. 

While I'm sad I won't be with my own family for such a special holiday, I have to keep my chin up: this isn't bad - this is just different. I refuse to be a mope and/or complete wreck because of it. 

And, like most other couples with families spread out too far to 'stop by' on the same day, we have chosen the every-other-year option. This year is Norway, next year is California. It's fair and it's easy (as easy as it can be) and it's just the way it is. 

I've made quite the investment in Christmas this year (it's seems so easy to do when it's your first Christmas with your other half in a new home). The first thing I bought to get into the Christmas spirit? A manager scene. It's handmade from Germany - I recognized the look because my family had been to the Christmas markets in Germany, and brought back some wonderful things. Naturally, I had to have something, too. 

Isn't it beautiful?

I bought some red table cloths and candle holders. I used one of Grammy's table runners to complete the look. Thinking of her often, lately.

Clearly, I don't know how to work a camera. It's terribly blurry, but you get the idea.
On my wishlist: a tripod. 
I picked up some darling little Nisse's, too. A "Nisse" is...hmm. Well, I've gotten SO many versions of what a nisse could be, that I'm not confident explaining it to you. I tried Norwegian Wikipedia which I Google Translated... but, I can't be bothered trying to figure it out at the moment, so when I know more, so will you. 

I love these guys! Aren't they cute?

And then the tree. Thankfully, I packed up some ornaments when I moved, but I still had to get a few the lights....and the tree stand....and the garlands...and the tree topper.....and oh yeah, the tree itself! I love this tree. I'd rather sit with the lights down low and hang out near the tree than watch tv. 
The first thing I do when I get home from work is turn on the Christmas tree lights (which brightens up the whole room because it's quite dark these days!!!!!!) 

I haven't had a real tree in years...and it smells so wonderful. I could do without the sap, though. 

We put up my "baby's first Christmas" ornament, and lots of others from grandparents and parents. I asked the hubby if he had any ornaments stashed at home from when he was growing up, and he didn't think so. 

I was slightly surprised, and then I realized that maybe they just don't do that here. I can't say for sure, but I haven't seen any 'keepsake ornaments' so far...but then again, I haven't been looking. In any case, I think it brings so much more pleasure to decorate a tree with things that are special...things, for example, that my mom has held onto for 24 years so that I could one day put it on my own tree (not intended to be 5200 miles away, but hey, you never can tell, right?). 

In trying to figure out what we want our home to be like at Christmas, we're wading through our own traditions of growing up in such different places to pick out some of our favorite things. I'm getting familiar with his traditions this year, and he'll get to know mine next year. 

While I'm not crafty, I know that I want us to have cross-stitched stockings like my mom made for all of her children. So, I better get started! It'll at least give me something to do for the next few's so dark! 

While writing this, I think I may have figured out what I'm probably going to miss the most about Christmas with my family (besides actually being with them, obviously). 

Three things: 
1. Christmas Eve at Grandma's
2. Stockings
3. French Toast on Christmas morning with the whole family before opening the presents that we thoughtfully picked out for each other....

Uff Da! Every time I actually write out the things I miss (instead of just thinking a fleeting thought), the lump in my throat grows. 

It's just going to be different. That's all. 


  1. It probably depends on the family, both me and my sister have ornaments (that stay with my mom, for when we celebrate there), some from when we were kids (some bought, some made by us then), and some from when my dad grew up, from his parents tree. We usually (if we were home for it) decorate the tree together, putting up these older decorations last.

  2. OOOO I should start a christmas decoration collection for my little girl. Great tip!

    Christmas away from home can be really difficult, especially when you have lost some of the loved ones that made those Christmases "Home".

    We do two Christmases in Norway, with all the Norwegian traditions on Julaften and Turkey and all the trimmings, English style on Christmas day!

  3. It's always hard the first Christmas away, and then your own traditions materialize. Now, after 58 of the suckers, the first two of which I don't remember but were probably the best, I'm down to Stockings Only. Oh, and a tree. God Jul!