Family Christmas

Yesterday was Christmas Eve, the day of the main Christmas celebrations in Finland. The weather outside was frightful, not at all for any snow or snowfall, but for the pouring rain. This year, we can only dream of a white Christmas in the midst of all the grayness outside. We had no delightful fire either, not in our fireplace anyway, for our fireplace is not in any cozy kind of a room, but downstairs in this passthrough area.

What we did have, was candles, good food and family. And a cinnamon stick, some cloves and raisins slowly brewing in a little chocolote fondue pot, spreading around a touch of Christmas smells. This time of the year, our day here is less than six hours long anyway, so apart from taking the dog out, you couldn’t really even notice the miserable weather. Or, well, I guess you could, but it was quite easy to forget, with all the warmth inside the house.

During the week before Christmas, the girls had baked and decorated some gingerbread cookies and a small gingerbread house. Those, and some Christmas chocolates and marmalades and those candles, made up for most of our Christmas decorations this year. My husband and I even felt a bit creative on Sunday and hung up the cookies on the wall, in a Christmas tree pattern, and a bell pattern.

Our daughters, who otherwise we spending this week with their other parents, came around noon or early afternoon yesterday, to spend the Christmas Eve here together with us. The Christmas that may well be the last for my mom, what with her advanced lung cancer, unless the chemo treatments strating early next year slay the cancer significantly. So we were all here. Me and my husband, our three daughters, my sister and her husband and little daughter, my mom and of course our newest family member the dog too.

We had our kind of traditional Finnish Christmas, picking out the parts we like and adding to it. We had the first course with smoked salmon, salted salmon, salmon eggs (you see a pattern here?), boiled potatoes, mushroom salad and such. We had the main course with a tiny ham, half of a smoked turkey, the sides of baked potato and rutabaga casseroles and peas, pomegranate seeds and such. And we had the coffee table with three different sorts of cakes and chocolates and gingerbread and all.

We took it easy. Doing things bit by bit in no hurry, the table was set by the time my mom came with my sister’s family at around three in the afternoon. And by the time the oldest of daughters came home from walking the dog, all wet and miserable, the first course was served. After that, taking a break to clean up the first course, have a sample of my husband’s home brewed stout beer (not me though, I dislike beer heavily!), we sat down for the equaly delicious main course.

With our bellies full, we let the kids out of their anxiety and carried the piles of presents to the living room. Wth the new dog who is still only learning to behave, we did not venture a Christmas tree this year, nor even dare leave the presents piled up anywhere in sight, but had them hidden in my mom’s room until it was time to pass them out to their receivers.

Obviously the girls had been real good all year long, me not so much (though I did get the white winter coat I’ve been wanting all autumn, but I sort of propagated that myself ;) ). At least if you believe in Santa and the elves and all that bs about being nice, not naughty. I don’t really. I mean I don’t exploit such things as naughty or nice children. I discipline them and correct their behaviour if it’s not good. But none of that unnecessary shaming in this house. We are all worthy, even if sometimes our behaviour may not be good like it should.

So, anyway. All the girls, from the smallest to the biggest one, got a quite sensible pile of gifts. Things that they had wished for, nice things they needed. Like some shirts, sweaters, PS3 games, One Direction stuff… And the oldest daughter we deemed old enought to get the proper Nikon Coolpix camera she had dreamed of. She is a very good photographer too! And I’ve got to say now I’m a bit jealous of the camera. It’s way better than mine ;)

My sister left with her family in the early evening, to put the littlest one to sleep. Our girls went downstairs to the TV room to watch the One Direction movie This Is Us. My mom went to take a nap. It was only me, my man and our dog sitting in our combined dining and living room, listening to some music after cleaning up the kitchen. We went for a walk with the dog, enjoying the fresh air as it was not raining anymore, and saying hi to other dogs and their walkers we met on our way.

Today the girls went back to their other parents again. The house is quiet again after a good 24 hours (minus the night hours ;) ) full of the happy sounds of the girls. Me, my husband, the dog and my mom. They’ll be back on Friday, or at least the oldest and youngest will; the middle one is spending some time at her grandma’s and will join us when coming back from there. I like the peace and quiet, but at the same time I miss them too.

The youngest of them gave me a chocolate lollipop for Christmas, together with this wooden heart where she had written Marry Christmas, Mom (in Finnish). The lollipop said “I love you”. I just ate it. I love you too, baby! I love all of my girls! It was a lovely Christmas Eve with family <3