Baby’s first Christmas!

29 Dec

We just spent a wonderful week with my family celebrating baby’s first Christmas.  He was definitely the center of attention: my brother met him for the first time and my parents loved seeing how that teeny newborn has grown into a full-fledged baby with huge smiles and quite the personality 🙂  My parents were generous with gifts (a box of Baby Einstein toys and a cool activity center) as well as helping us organize our lives (they brought a crib that has been passed around my family for generations–it was my crib as a baby!! They bought a mattress for babe to sleep on and a bookshelf to stash baby stuff).

Because we are a multi-cultural family, we have lots of holidays this time of year.  Dec 25th is always spent with my family.  Christmas Eve we make clam chowder & appetizers, open the gifts that are under the tree and spend lots of quality time together.  That night, Santa comes and on Christmas morning there are stockings full of fun and usually one big Santa gift.  That day, we usually cook Christmas dinner and often go out to a movie.  This year was really fun–although it didn’t quite go as planned.  We opened gifts, ate chowder & Russian appetizers but the big mistake was pairing the appetizers with vodka.  Baby bro and hubs got wayyyy drunk and they both couldn’t get out of bed Christmas day.  Boo to them! I let them have it and then got over it. The day after Christmas we had our big dinner together and, well, it’s something to laugh about.

We took lots of pictures to remember our fun week together. I’ll let them speak for themselves!

Taken on our FED 5b vintage Soviet camera

Taken on our FED 5b vintage Soviet camera

Taken on our FED 5b vintage Soviet camera

I have spent a lot of time thinking about our holiday traditions as our family grows. We have lots to build: Thanksgiving, American Christmas, New Year’s, and Orthodox Christmas. Thanksgiving is usually low-key because it doesn’t make sense to travel twice in a month, so it is usually low-key. We eat something with turkey. We may spend time with friends.

“American” Christmas is spent with my family, either here or in my childhood hometown. This year the fam came to us, next year we might drive out there (depending on the weather and how travelling with a 15-month old will be). We always open gifts on Christmas eve. We always make clam chowder. Santa fills stockings and brings (usually) one big gift. It is unwrapped and set out under the Christmas tree. We have always eaten ham on Christmas day, but I don’t love it. This year we had a rib roast (I think it was a New York roast, but we could do prime rib or any other tasty cut). It was AWESOME. We made the amazing Garlic/Honey carrots from Thanksgiving, hubs’s awesome mashed potatoes and a big salad. Excellent meal that I definitely want to repeat.

This weekend is New Year, which is like American Christmas for Russians. Someday we may visit hubs’s family in Ukraine for the holiday, but for now we will spend it here as a family. A big meal is cooked and eaten at midnight. A gift is under the “New Year’s Tree.” Alcohol is drank, fun is had. We have spent New Year’s in Canada (we took a boat up to Victoria and it was SO fun). We’ve spent it in our apartment drinking tasty drinks… last year I don’t even remember what we did. I wasn’t feeling well over the holidays (I was prego but didn’t know it yet), but on New Year’s Day we went to our friends’ house and played with their XBox Kinect.

Finally, we have Orthodox Christmas, which is the least defined at this point. We make kutya, a traditional dessert made from wheat grain, poppy seeds, walnuts, and honey. I’m guessing we’ll cook Russian food and . . .do something? It’s usually a holiday where you visit your God-family (either your God-children or your kids’ God Parents or all of the above). We don’t have a Russian Orthodox community of friends here, so there’s no one to celebrate with. I hope that with time, this holiday gains more traditions.

So Christmas #1 turned out wonderfully. We’re now excited to move on to the next holiday and celebrate more of my little boy’s milestones 🙂


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