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The topic for this month’s PF Bloggers Group Writing Project is our Favorite Christmas Memories. My favorite memory is our first Christmas in our own house, which was 2006. We bought our house in November 2005, but we had to travel out of the country to attend a cousin’s wedding – actually we were bridesmaids for the wedding – so our first Christmas in our house was 2006.
On Black Friday 2006, we went to Walmart for some shopping, and because we take our dogs everywhere with us and they were in the car, Madoline and I took turns going in to shop. Madoline went second, and when she came out, she had an 8′ Douglas Fir in a shopping cart. Thus began our Christmas festivities. We moved the dogs to the front seat, put the backseat down and shoved the tree into the car and it fit just perfectly with the tip of the tree at the dashboard. We drove the 50-minute trip home with Madoline and the 2 dogs in the front passenger seat (one sitting on the floor and one in her lap), the tree at my elbow and the whole car smelling like Christmas.
Wrestling the tree out of the car, sawing off a bit of the bottom and putting it in the tree stand was a bit of an ordeal, but we finally got it standing almost completely straight in our music room (a dining room for most people). This was our dogs’ first Christmas (they would turn 1 on January 5) and while they had no idea what Christmas was, they could tell it was exciting and were all over the place as we got out the ornaments and decorated the tree.
Because this was their first Christmas, we made them Christmas clothes and dressed them up for pictures. After the hours we put into making the clothes, we had to make sure we got lots of good pictures because they would grow out of them in a matter of weeks. Here are some of our favorites.
Since this was our first official Christmas with the 2 of us and our new family, we decided to allow ourselves a budget of $100 to shop for each other. In previous years, since living on our own, we either skipped presents or had small budgets of $20 each. This year we went all out. We took a couple of shopping trips to the mall where we again took turns going into stores to buy each other presents, then had to make the other personal look the other way while we put them in and took the out of the trunk.
After we got home, we snuck our gifts to our rooms and then rooted around the house for boxes to put them in, wrapped our presents and put them under the tree. (This is my favorite part.) We also did some shopping online and whenever the mail carrier rang the doorbell, we ran to the door to make sure the other person wouldn’t see anything. Madoline couldn’t decide what else to buy for me when she still had $40 left, so I ordered the Ticket to Ride German Map Ediition as a present for both of us.
On Christmas Eve, we each opened one present. I wanted to play the Ticket to Ride game so I chose that one as the one I wanted to open but made Madoline open it. We stayed up till 4 a.m. playing that game and whenever we play it now, I think about that Christmas. When we got up on Christmas Day, the first thing both of us wanted to do was to continue playing Ticket to Ride, which we call by it’s German name which is a lot more fun – Zug um Zug [tsoog-oom-tsoog]. So we played Zug um Zug and then each opened a present, then we’d play another game, open another present, one of which was Carcassonne (another of my favorite German strategy games), and so on.
Because our business is mostly seasonal and centered around major holidays, we decided to take a vacation after we shipped out our last Christmas orders (our Christmas rush started the beginning of November and ended around mid-December). We spent the couple of weeks after Christmas hanging out, watching movies, playing games, drinking Earl Grey tea and eating chocolate.
We had also gotten presents for our dogs – little stuffed animals toys that they could play with while we relaxed – and we got enough to give them each one for each of the 12 days of Christmas starting on Christmas Day and ending on Epiphany, their birthday. On their birthday, we baked them a carrot-oatmeal-peanut butter cake which they enjoyed and smeared all over my bed.
That was our first Christmas in our own house, and thus far, my favorite Christmas memory.
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