For the fifth year in a row, we celebrated Christmas at my sister’s in a tiny village in Western Bohemia. The village has about 30 inhabitants, a tiny church and a giant pear tree in the middle and no shop or cafe. It’s a blissfully peaceful place which means it’s easier to make our Christmases peaceful. That is, as peaceful as can be in a house with four children aged 2 to 13. Traditionally, the tree is decorated in the morning on the 24th. My sister got the tree from her neighbours and the kids did a great job decorating. I think it was the first time ever they actually did it all by themselves and I just sat and watched, enjoying the way Esther and Sebastiaan interact with their much younger cousins. We use mostly straw ornaments and real candles for the tree because we obviously like to live dangerously. (I am happy to report there were no accidents and we did not ruin the Christmas celebrations for the local fire brigade).
My parents came in the afternoon, and started cooking right away. The traditional Christmas menu consists of my mom’s mushroom stuffing (that I always think I should learn how to make because it’s so good), my father’s carp soup and pumpkin soup for vegetarians (my only contribution this year), potato salad and fried carp.
After the dinner, the kids went on a lookout for baby Jesus who brings the presents but sadly missed him – we heard a bell ring and there was a heap of presents under the tree and the candles were lit. We sang carols and my brother-in-law played the guitar. And then he kids took turns getting a present a giving to whoever it was for. And obviously, we ate a lot of cookies.
Esther and Sebastiaan got 11 books between them, so I told them next year they’d better ask for a couple of bookshelves. They both read a lot and they re-read a lot, and their interests overlap partially (they both like the Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games and currently the Cherub series) so it does make sense for us to buy the books instead of borrowing them from the library. Plus they read mostly in English now (which we happily support as a painless way to learn English for both of them) and our local library does not carry many books in English.
Remco got a 3in1 lense (macro, wide angle and fish eye) for his phone which he’s been having a lot of fun with. It was not very expensive so I did not expect much, but it actually turned out pretty good, so if you’re looking for a present for the photographer in your life…
Our days since were spent reading and playing and walking every day and Esther got to ride her pony a lot.
It was exactly the Christmas I wished for our family.
Hope yours was great too!