Four years ago, B and I were together, but we spent the holidays apart. It really sucked, and we made a pact to spend Christmas together from then on, taking turns visiting his family, then mine; rotating every other year. But this year his family was dispersed, with one brother in NYC, a second in New Zealand, and only his sister and parents in Scotland. So we decided to come to the States for a second year in a row, where my whole family would be for the holiday.
I know this year was hard for B, as this was his second Christmas with me in the States. So I did my best to bring Scotland to Maine, blending some of his favorite holiday traditions in with mine. As we’re starting a life together, it’s important to maintain our favorite family traditions in addition to creating new, special ones together.
Here’s a look at Christmas with my family in Maine, with a few of B’s special holiday traditions blended in.I gave you a little tour around my grandparent’s house last week. They live inland, and the ice storm in their area was much worse than at my parent’s coastal house. I was amazed at this birch tree, weighed down by heavy ice, doing a semi-circle over their garage!
We spent Christmas Eve at their house, relaxing, eating lots of food and sharing presents.
Typically we end up way over-stuffed on Christmas Eve. As we’re Italian, we usually have a Feast of the Seven Fishes. This year we did appetizers only. We filled up on bruschetta, shrimp cocktail, bacon wrapped scallops, Swedish meatballs, cheese, crab cakes, and endless dips, spreads, and crackers. It was delicious!! After dinner we put on Christmas carols and bunkered down around the fireplace to exchange gifts. We drove home later in the evening, pants popping and smiling faces.
The next morning the food and gift bonanza continued. As you might expect, on Christmas night, Santa comes to our house. On Christmas morning, my sisters and I are gifted with some lovely new toys. We then trade presents with each other and my parents, and eat a really big breakfast!My parents are extremely generous and my mom loves to shop, so this usually results in an overload of awesome Christmas gifts! This year my big gift was a new camera, but I got a lot of other goodies from my parents as well – bare Minerals Makeup, Dior perfume, a cute leather Kate Spade purse, etc. My mom shows her love through gift giving, and so our holidays have always been very present filled. I think B is a little overwhelmed by this tradition, as his family are not big gift givers. But I adore the delight in a loved one’s eyes when they open a coveted Christmas present. I just can’t imagine Christmas without the gifts!Even the kittys get stockings in our house!After we exchanged gifts, we had a big Christmas breakfast together. My mom usually cooks while my sisters and I are exchanging gifts, and once we are all done trading presents, we eat up!This year we had bacon, Texas french toast, and quiche. My mom had frozen some of B’s Mom’s Christmas Cake that she sent over last year, so B got a taste of Scotland along with his Maine breakfast :) After helping clean up, B and I took a ride to the sea. This is one of his traditions. When we’re in Scotland for the holidays, we usually watch the Queen’s Christmas speech and then go for a long walk on the beach with B’s family. After streaming the Queen’s speech on BBC.com, we hopped in the car and headed to the ocean here in Scarborough.After our walk it was time to help get ready for dinner. We had guests coming over – cousins and friends and uncles and littles – and my parents were cooking a delicious roast for the bunch. I’d made potatoes roasted in duck fat and a traditional Christmas pudding, both dishes B would eat back at home. This was our final family Christmas meal together, a hearty feast with all the fixings. We then opened presents, and filled up what little room was left in our stomaches with cakes and sweets. My cousin jake got this adorable hat – so cute!! By the end of the night we were all stuffed and happy. We sat around talking, playing with the kids, and drinking wine. It was a really lovely holiday, and I’m lucky to share it this year with so many wonderful people!
I hope you all had a great Christmas as well, celebrating around the world, with your own families and traditions. Xx