Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Change in Tradition

"Jesus is the reason for the season", raise your hand if you remember this phrase (okay, you can put your hand down now...I can't really see it). It's so funny how much I actually think about Him being the reason for the season these days. When I think of how much I'm missing family this time of year and just the traditions we have in the States, I often have to step back and think about how much about me this season isn't. It just seems like I got it stuck in my head that Christmas, and even Thanksgiving for that matter, are supposed to look a certain way...and if they don''s not really the Holiday Season. It is though, no matter what is going on in my life, Christ was born and that should be celebrated with complete joy and happiness. Last year it was so hard for me to enjoy the season. On Christmas morning I didn't even put on makeup (which, if you know me, means I'm depressed)...I just sat on the couch in my pajamas all day and stared at the television. That doesn't seem like much of a celebration to me. It just sounds depressing. We tried to take the traditions from the States and continue them here, which just isn't realistic. So this year we decided we needed to do something different.
Many of you know how our Thanksgiving went from our post in Big Picture Missions feel free to read if you haven't already. Usually this time of year we would be making hundreds of pies and by Wednesday evening I would be exhausted, but brining a turkey non the less. Thursday morning, as was tradition, Preston would run out and buy donuts and we would have our first glass of eggnog and donuts while watching the Macy's Day Parade. Usually I would also be preparing food in the kitchen and we would be at a designated family members house by 2ish (we alternated years one year with my family and one year with Prestons family). Then when we got home still exhausted from pies and now a day filled with family I would go with a friend, Shayla Parker, to catch some Black Friday deals. To be honest, I just liked being out in it...I know I'm a freak. It was the true kick off to the season for me. Half the time I didn't even really buy anything that I couldn't have gotten later, but it was the excitement of it all. Seeing all the decorations, meeting frazzled people, laughing at the people who didn't take the needed last glance in the mirror before running out the door, having coffee with my bestie while falling asleep in an isle...good times. Then getting home and taking a nap, if the kids would let me, and in the evening setting up the Christmas tree. Then going to the store and everyone picking out a new ornament, and returning home to decorate, while listening to Christmas music, with the kids while Preston and I had a glass of Lambrusco. It's so funny how quickly I got caught up in what a season is "supposed to look like" to make it a season worth celebrating.
Living in a different Country and trying to recreate these "traditions" ended up causing a funk that seemed to get deeper and deeper with every breathe I took. It was unrealistic for me to think everything would be the same, but for some reason I thought it would...or maybe I didn't really think about it at all which is why it hit me like a ton of bricks. Well this year that is changing, we are making new traditions and truly remembering the reason for the season. Also, I just want to throw in that I miss cool weather in the winter...or just having seasons at all. Do you know how hard it is to describe seasons in a place where there are non? (okay, that ADD moment has past, moving right along then)
This year our Thanksgiving traditions started on Monday when we went to the store to get the necessities for our Festivus Pole. We got the idea for a Festivus Pole, obviously, from Seinfeld.
The below quotes are taken from Wikipedia
Frank Costanza: "Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way."
Cosmo Kramer: "What happened to the doll?"
Frank Costanza: "It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!"
Kramer: "That must have been some kind of doll."
Frank Costanza: "She was."
We don't actually celebrate Festivus which I have found people actually do...but we needed a new tradition that was affordable and still kept true to our need for filling the house with pretty Christmas decorations. A tree just isn't very realistic for us here. First of all they are REALLY pricey and bulky, second of all I'm quite sure they are a haven for mice and scorpions. We figured a Festivus Pole could be decorated like a tree but was small enough to move around and sweep under. Plus, who wants to wake up on Christmas morning, grab a gift, and get stung by a scorpion...NOT ME.
all the items needed for an amazing Festivus Pole
The new traditions continued on Tuesday when I rode the bus by myself for the first time to get the ingredients for the eggnog I would be making. Wednesday evening I made eggnog, since you can't buy any here, and we went to the store to get all the ingredients needed for our Thanksgiving feast (and a box of American Donuts for the morning).
Recipe will follow at the end of this post
Thursday morning when we got up we had our eggnog and donuts while watching the Macy's Day Parade
When we were finished with that we got dressed and took some Christmas pictures
On Friday evening we decorated our Festivus Pole while drinking Carlo Rossi mixed with Gingerale...since it's $15 for a small bottle of Lanbrusco here
We hung the stockings mom and dad brought when they came in February on random nails in our livingroom
Then we made another random decoration and hung lights. I must say this year has been great.
Cooked Eggnog Recipe
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
16 ounces (1 pint) whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. nutmeg
In stand mixer bowl, beat egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until completely dissolved. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Return everything to pot and cook until mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from heat and pour into a pitcher.
This recipe was inspired by Alton Browns recipe on the Food Network


  1. I am so glad that you aren't going to go into a funk this year! And a festivus pole sounds way more fun than SPREADING OUT EVERY FREAKIN BRANCH ON THE CHRISTMAS TREE! I miss Black Friday shopping with you but now I get some sleep so I will forgive you :) Love and miss you so much.

    1. It is way better than spreading out the branches...hahaha. Love and miss you too.

  2. Hahaha. I really had never heard of festivus, even with all the Seinfeld I've watched. I seriously thought it was something from Nicaragua!!!! Hahaha. I'm a mess. Thanks for keeping us informed!

    1. it has nothing to do with Nicaragua...we are just freaky enough to use Seinfeld as our!