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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

Because we live in a foreign country and are surrounded by a church community who are also largely comprised of people living in a foreign country, most of us don't have extended family living nearby.  The lack of extended family can make the holidays a bit lonely as long celebrated traditions are sometimes impossible to continue.  This reality led us to have an Open House at our house on Christmas Day from the first Christmas we were here, December 1998.  It likely seems utterly strange to those of you who are surrounded by family and gatherings on Christmas day to consider going to an Open House at the Pastors' house on Christmas day.  But for about 90-100 people who found themselves in Stockholm, they were glad we did!  This also solves the dilemma of how to make sure everyone has a place to go on Christmas.  We just invite them to our house for the big bash!
I scored these adorable plates at Ikea way back in November!
It continues to be something we love to do and we are grateful that people continue to enjoy it!  We make all the food ourselves, kind of our Christmas gift to the congregation.  Our buffet is largely appetizers, American style, with the influence of Southern California kick thrown in.  The meatballs are spicy, the salsa is hot, the Mexican layer dip is a fan favorite.  We serve homemade Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies and homemade toffee alongside of clementines and store bought pepparkakor on the sweets table.  The specialty of the house is the homemade hot apple cider and liters of it go down on a cold winter's night!A few folks from church showed up early to help us with the final food prep and to get the "home theater" set up in our extra bedroom.  Toy Story 3 was showing and the kids (and some adults) just love piling in there to watch!  Right at 18.00 the doorbell rang and in poured the guests.  It is so much fun to have a house full of people who are delighted to be together.
The food was plentiful, although I could've had one more gravad lax, another cream cheese crab ball and I think next year I need to note that we need 3 batches of Mexican Layer dip! Santa was adorable this year and the children delighted in the sweets he handed out! 
Our music director, Rigael, AKA Santa Claus!
Everyone was out the door by 21.00 and the house was reasonably clean and tidy by 22.00 thanks to Lucy who comes in and keeps the kitchen clean all night!  It is such a joy to sit down with a glass of wine after everyone has left, open the gifts that people bring by and reflect on the season.  Another Advent and Christmas has come and gone.  But the memories and sweetness of the season will linger for a long time to come.  The only thing left to do is make notes on the food amounts and make my shopping list for next year.  It makes life a lot easier when the amounts are fresh in your mind!
So, I guess it's time to say our final Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.  Even though it's all over now, we can still be Merry, Christ is in our midst and we can still have a good night!