Today is the first Christmas J-man and I have had together in the six years we’ve been dating and marriaging the hell out of each other. It’s also the first Christmas I’ve ever had without my family, so we decided to combine some of our families’ traditions to make it one giant superhero Christmas.
As you probably don’t remember, J-man and I are total cheap skate hippies and instead of buying a plastic Christmas tree (they’re so bad for, like, the earth and Bambi and junk) each year we collect sticks and decorate them. This year we are in San Francisco and I was afraid any sticks we might collect would have tarantulas in them. Tarantulas and rattle snakes and Michael Myers. So we decorated a candelabra instead:
We collected the decorations from around the world and plan to keep them forever and, when we have kids (which, if I have any say, will be tomorrow), we can tell them the stories behind each of the little trinkets.
- The wooden black cat at the top and the apple at the bottom were decorations we bought at the Holiday Market in Union Square in New York. It was a super cold day and I was so excited to be having my first cold Christmas. The apple is because of The Big Apple and the cat is sort of a memorial to J-man’s late cat Lucky.
- We bought the egg-shaped decoration at a flea market in Sofia, Bulgaria. There was a funny cast of characters behind the market stalls, including a legless man and a faintly-bearded woman. Lots were selling military paraphernalia, so I really hope this innocent-looking decoration isn’t actually a Christmas grenade.
- The little wooden man was bought from a flower shop in Salzburg. It cost something like six euros and the woman told us he was uniquely Austrian. We later saw them in every country for about one sixth of that price. Still, I guess it’s a nice reminder to never, ever return to Austria.
- The wooden red and white heart is from Paris. I would have loved a jewel-encrusted Eiffel Tower bauble, but I would have had debt collectors cutting off my fingers and threatening my family. We bought this little number from a supermarket, along with bananas and footless tights.
- The little angel next to the wooden man is from Budapest, one of my favourite cities ever. We were there in September but already the city was lit up and Christmasy and beautiful.
- The little Venetian mask is from Dubbo. Oh, you’re so gullible. It is, of course, from Venice – a seriously magical, out-of-this-world place. I’ll look at this and remember the pink and peach sunset we watched just after I’d thrown a hissy fit when a hawker forced J-man to buy me two roses for ten euros. I really have been the most wonderful travel partner.
Yesterday – Christmas Eve – J-man and I did our present shopping, food shopping and a little baking. One of my favourite Christmas memories is helping mum make a chocolate Christmas tree, complete with icing sugar snow. So while J-man talked to his family for the first time in six months, I tried to recreate the joy. I think what I actually made was a chocolate cow pat:
Last night we drank Gingerbread man cocktails – made from vanilla vodka and ginger ale – and ate an array of dips and salads. All my Christmas dreams came true when we found It’s A Wonderful Life playing on cable television. It made me cry, poor old George Bailey.
This morning we woke up and exchanged gifts. I bought Joel his newly-discovered favourite beer Dogfish Head and Jonathan Franzen’s book Freedom. He bought me some bow earrings I’d pointed out, a Macaron cook book and a necklace with an Eiffel Tower charm. Am I not the luckiest gal in the world? Afterwards we cooked a breakfast of pikelets, strawberries and bacon and eggs. After that, we devoured:
Later today, we’ll eat more and nap. Merry Christmas, y’all.