I hope you all had a relaxing long weekend. This was a very memorable Christmas for Markus and I. It was our third Christmas as a married couple and due to that plus some family events outside our control it was time to really explore how we would do the Holiday instead of bunking up at family's house and reverting back to being our parents' kids for the weekend. Sometimes I feel holidays can be odd for couples who are married or independent but don't have children yet where there's a full house and reason to start new family traditions. Since we're really starting to stand on our own as our unique family but still have no plan for when children will be here, it was time to start to mix in some new ways of celebrating this time of year with traditions we share with our (as our Church calls it) "families of origin." The old and the new all added up to a beautiful and perfect weekend. I've broken down all the fun into old and new traditions below. Try to keep up with the happy madness!
Favorite "Old" Traditions
Going to see Scrooge at Northpark with Markus and my sister is a cherished event to me. My gradfather took us to see this puppet show every year before the big day. It is a million times more important to me than seeing Santa Claus. I love watching the kids now and got so excited when we were called on when we were younger. It is such a special part of my life in Dallas. The puppet master has been doing this show for 34 years!
My cousin's birthday is December 23 and we go to Dave & Buster's almost every year to celebrate with dinner and lots and lots of games. We go for the big tickets and then give all the goods to him to collect his mega-prize. This year he turned 23 on December 23 - star birthday!
Exciting New Traditions
|Tuba Christmas in Dallas|
|Holiday Cheer at the Flagship Neiman Marcus|
Tuba Christmas - We were looking for ways to celebrate Christmas in Dallas when we first moved here four years ago and found Tuba Chritmas. Markus first attended SMU on a Tuba scholarship so he played with the group for our first experience! This year we went back with one of our couple friends as a daytime double date. It is so much fun to sing along to all the carols! Afterwards we walked through Neiman Marcus for one last dose of their holiday decor and then had a long lunch at Iron Cactus. As an aside, the gluten-free menu at Iron Cactus is top-notch and extensive. I loved the spinach artichoke dip with green chiles (a dish that is rarely offered gluten-free at restaurants) and my salmon salad.
The pajamference - Knowing that we would be running around visiting family on the 25 & 26, Markus and I bought some much needed new pajamas and soaked in quiet time on Christmas Eve. Our darling sleepwear sets are from JCPenny (I love the champagne print on mine!). We each picked a movie to watch, wrapped presents and snugged. Sistah stopped by for a gift exchange and snapped this family portrait for us. There is always something to do in Dallas so it is wonderful to take (part of) a day to decidedly go off the grid!
Christmas Mass and Dinner - When Markus and I went to Germany for our first Christmas together, we walked to mass with his family. It was such a peaceful experience that when he suggested it this year for us I was happy to agree. It helped that I had read on my Kate Middleton
stalking news sites that it is also a tradition in the Royal Family to walk to and from Christmas services. Our parish had the church decorated beautifully. Before we left we stuffed green peppers and put them in the crockpot. When we returned they were simmering and ready for us to enjoy!
Gluten-Free Stuffed Peppers (adapted from El Burrito)
Bell Pepper, cleaned and emptied
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked
1 ear of corn, with the kernels cut off
1 package of El Burrito Soyrizo vegan chorizo
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 cup vegetable broth
Sautee the diced onion and garlic in a pan with extra virgin olive oil. Once they have yellowed add the cooked quinoa, walnuts and vegan chorizo (squeezing the "meat" out of the casing). Stir in the pan until fully combined. Stuff the hollowed pepper with the mixture and place in the crock pot with the vegetable broth on high for 90 minutes or until tender. Each pepper can be topped with vegan or organic cheese depending upon indivudual family member's prefernces.
After our meal Markus gifted me with my favorite of our Christmas traditions - a new member of my Jonathan Adler ornament menagerie! Markus puts a lot of thought behind his selections and when I opened it he told me, "He's here because elephants have a great memory. And I want to always remember this Christmas with you when we celebrated as our own family." It will forever be a hard Christmas to top!
How did you celebrate the season this year? Any exciting new traditions? Did any favorite old one make an appearance?