Thanksgiving down, Christmas to go…

Now that Thanksgiving had come and gone, it’s time to focus on Christmas. In my family, Christmas never started until the day after Thanksgiving. We never put up our decorations until then. I remember listening to some Christmas carols during Thanksgiving dinner (usually Ray Conniff and A Very Muppet Christmas), but decorations always waited until the day after. This continues to be true in our little Diplomatic family. Neither my wife nor I are particularly religious, but the Christmas spirit is something we want to be instilled in our son. There’s nothing like the wide-eyed feeling of coming downstairs on Christmas morning to check out all the loot Santa brought for you. Hence, the expression “Like a kid on Christmas morning.”

First a little more about Thanksgiving….

As I mentioned, we had a couple of Peace Corps volunteers here. They worked their butts off to get 9 trays of lasagna, 12 trays of stuffing, 3 trays of garbanzo bean salad, and like 3 gallons of gravy out the door. They succeeded.

Why is everyone else still asleep?

"Sure am glad I'm not doing this by hand."

What's gonna work? Teamwork!

With the PC volunteers finally vacating my kitchen at about 11 a.m., it was time for me to get to work. Since I was on a tight schedule, there are sadly no process photos of the menu as I would have liked. Menu was: bourbon- and apple-brined smoked turkey, herbed dressing (stuffing for you New Englanders/Mid-Westerners… but it’s really only stuffing if it goes in the bird), mashed potatoes, and pecan pie. Our guests were bringing salad and a green bean casserole. I only have a picture of the end result of the turkey:

Yes, it was every bit as delicious as it looks...

And our table (before the chaos):

We used our china and some of our crystal for the first time ever. We're such adults.

We gave plates to our housekeeper and the security guards who keep us safe. They enjoyed it too.

Friday (now, unfortunately dubbed “Black Friday” by the media), we settled into putting up the Christmas tree. I reluctantly purchased an artificial tree last year (having vowed NEVER, EVER, EVER to get one in the past – i.e. life before the Foreign Service), and I will get a real tree whenever/wherever they’re available and I don’t feel live I’m being raped by the price of it. But this year, we dutifully un-boxed the tree, shaped it, assembled it, and hung up some ornaments. It was substantially less-spartan than last year’s tree due to the fact that we actually had our “stuff” this time (last year’s Xmas in Oakwood was “stuff”-free). Some pics:

Is he helping or hindering? You decide.

Very proud of himself in this one.

Finished product.

Momma basking in the 86-degree temps and the glow of the tree.

Our shopping is almost all done. We have a Christmas pageant for the boy’s school coming in a few weeks, and I’m already planning the menu for our first Christmas abroad. It makes me a little sad to not be able to share the holidays with my family and friends back home, but it’s the life we chose. Hopefully we’ll be able to Skype with everyone and make it feel like we’re home for the holidays.