Christmas this year was a whirlwind of baking, wrapping, singing, driving, sewing, decorating, basting, lighting, writing and loving.
For someone who loves taking pictures as much as I do, I never seem to have any of the copious amount of baking I do every year. Somewhere in the madness of it all, I always forgo the picture taking. I saved some rather stale, but still pretty, cookies so maybe I'll get around to photographing those for a later post...
Christmas began for me on the 24th when I headed off to the Lytwyn's for their Christmas dinner. It was lovely. Beyond lovely. There is so much warmth and Christmas spirit all bundled up in that house that not even the Grinchiest Grinch could help but be enveloped by all that Christmas goodness. I baked my version of a German Chocolate cake covered with Holly for dinner and prepared little boxes of homemade candies, chocolate, cookies and more for everyone there. Each package (which I stupidly also forgot to photograph) was personalized to their tastes and it was so much fun decorating each sweet box. For the kids (Liam especially), I really wanted to make their gift special. Knowing his penchant for pirates, I found an adorable Christmas book called the "Gingerbread Pirates" and attempted to recreate the Pirates in edible form. I carefully drew blueprints for the cookies so make them as close to the book as possible. They weren't quite perfect but I liked them nonetheless. And I hope the kids did too.
Dinner was wonderful. Everything was delicious and Dan's sister's personalized place cards were incredible. I loved my redhaired, red lipped snow-woman. Perfection.
Although I wish I could have stayed longer, after eating my weight in decadent food and receiving the most thoughtful gifts from Dan's family, I headed off into the night with my brother, driving over to Collingwood where me and my family were spending our Christmas day.
As we drove up towards the house, there in the newly built loft space, was the glow of a beautiful Christmas tree. All decked out and shining bright. It was amazing. Made all the construction woes of the last year worth it. When we got inside, the smell of pine needles and Christmas filled the air and made me realize that as much as I love my snowy white fake trees, there's truly nothing like a real one to get you into the Christmas spirit.
Mom had done an out-of-this-orld job of decorating the newly renovated cottage with all our old decorations from the old house. Stocking were hung by the railings with care and my favourite ceramic Christmas tree was there waiting for me on my bedside table. As a kid I had obsessed over these things for years and one day, a wonderfully kind lady from mom's Church gave her's to me. It meant so much to me and I was glad to see it made it to the new cottage.
Despite being exhausted from the cooking all-nighter I had pulled the day before I hunkered down to wrap the rest of my presents and sat with my family in front of the fire, closing my eyes and listening to the wood crackle and pop, as the snow fell outside awaiting Christmas morning...