Lessons learned from a traditionally untraditional Christmas

When life hands you limes an unconventional Christmas you can either feel disappointed looking at everybody else’s recaps of their celebrations. Or enjoy reading about those different from yours and see the marvelous parts and lessons learned in the latter. Needless to say I’m going with the latter today in sharing our very untraditional holiday.


A tree is a tree is a tree. Not!?

Do you know the famous picture by Magritte? Because: this is indeed a Christmas tree. Yes. Anybody saying differently shares my initial opinion is highly intolerant or narrow-minded. This is a tradition I wish my family hadn’t broken for the second year in a row. While I approve of eco-conscious lifestyles celebrating Christmas without a tree just didn’t feel right at first. I will admit, though, that – once we’d sat down for dinner and “lit” it – our home-built non-tree tree did a pretty good job adding the necessary atmosphere to the room. Also, I can’t remember the last time my family had this much fun having a photo shoot in front of the tree. Or actually the last time we ever did that.

You win, un-tree, you win.

Christmas Tree


When your heart is full food becomes secondary

Okay, yes, I cringed a little at how cheesy this sounds but allow me to explain. So: Intuitive Eating. It’s the ultimate goal. The means that is supposed to help us eat without worry and … It also is really scary to me. I haven’t shared much of my [food] background on here yet. But what I’ll say for now is that I’ve never NOT struggled with food and at that finding balance is hard. Extremes I can do – either over- or undereating – but listening to my intuition? It’s hard.
Back to the point. We had a very late dinner and I found myself snacking yet never satisfied for long all day leading up to it. Worried about going way overboard. Yet once we sat down, shared the wonderful meal – obviously including Rotkohl – I felt calmed and at mostly at ease. Finishing dinner we moved on to gift giving and playing a game afterwards. No space for overthinking and worrying about what I ate. In fact, I ended up not reaching my calorie goal and eating past my point of satisfaction to reach my calorie target for the day later on. A relieving experience when going through times of endless hunger on the regular. It’s good to realize there are moments when food becomes a second thought only. So much so you forget to take pictures and have to recycle some … #bloggerfail.

Christmas Eve_dinner_Rotkohl


Expectations can ruin your holidays – but only if you let them

Oh, expectations … we love to hate them, right? As a huge fan of planning I do not take changes from the agenda lightly and if you mess with my plans completely – not cool. My family obviously did. When all plans fell wayside I could have let it ruin my mood completely but just relaxing and taking things as they came is the best attitude. Though I still think we should have at least played board games instead of Yathzee for a fair chance of me winning.


A short amount of time can still create a lot of happy memories.


As mentioned before our main celebration is on Christmas Eve and it was very much limited to it this year, too. My brother and sister arrived only on 22nd/23rd so the time we got to spend with each other was limited. Another one of those expectation crushed but we still got to share lots of laughs and moments of togetherness. The same can be said about a way too short but wonderful meet-up with a friend of mine. Sipping tea, catching up and then heading to the movies which proved that …


I’m a hopeless romantic.

Granted, this was no lesson learned or any news but my sneaky way of saying: watch this movie! I wasn’t expecting much and was more than pleasantly surprised by this dramatic love story set in 19th century England. Every woman needs a Mr Oak in her life.

All in all, my Christmas weekend wasn’t perfect but it also wasn’t what I was expecting both positively and negatively [am I making sense?]. Not everything I’d hoped for happened but it also surprised me in good ways. And I’m choosing to keep the positives at the forefront of my mind. Just iike we should any day of our lives.

And with that I’m wishing you a happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today: Meeting a friend and watching above-mentioned movie. You really shoud, too, if you get a chance.


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Tell me about your Christmas and your favourite moments of it!


11 thoughts on “Lessons learned from a traditionally untraditional Christmas

  1. Morgan @ Managing Mommyhood says:

    OHGOSH, so, so, so, SO much YES! We had an un-tree, mostly because small house+toddler+lab+cat=disaster. But I love it! Also the expectations thing is basically my life story. Now before we go into uh, everything, my husband reminds me to reset my weirdly high expectations.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Haha, I can see how a real tree would be a potential disaster with a toddler and cat around. I really like the look of your DIY tree
      It’s you and me both with those expectations about everything.Hard to tone them down but it’s good your husband helps you with that.

  2. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables says:

    Such a great perspective!!! Our Christmas was great, but it was definitely strange not being with my family (we were with my husband’s family things year!) but it really is all about how you look at it! I’m glad you made the best of things!!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Thank you, Liz. I can imagine it has to be odd not celebrating with your family for the first time. My sister and her husband spent Christmas Eve with us and then drove to his family’s place the next day to spend the rest of Christmas with them and I missed her.

  3. Kate Bennett says:

    Is it bad to say that I’ve learned I am happier when I keep my expectations low? Not bad necessarily, but just minimal.
    My family and I played some games over break and we had a lot of fun! Scrabble is family favorite, but we added Apples to Apples this time. I want to try the recipe you posted very some- I love red cabbage. It is just as tasty as it is beautiful!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Absoluteley not. I feel having low expectations occasionally gets a bad rep in the sense of not wanting/trying something hard enough but it doesn’t feel that way to me. In regards of Christmas that could – for me – mean simply hoping for a good time as a family rather than specific happenings that might not take place in the end.
      I’ll try to see if there’s a German version of Apples to Apples because otherwise part of my family members would refuse to play it ;).
      Let me know how you like our Rotkohl if you get to try it.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Right, expectations can ruin a good experience. If we imagined fireworks a simple camp fire – as cozy and amazing as it is – will disappoint us. Same with everything else in life obviously.

  4. mylittletablespoon says:

    Yes – you are absolutely making sense :). I love this post. THAT TREE!! I have never seen this before! I can understand your hesitancy about having an “untree” (haha) – I would as well, as I am a sucker for tradition – but it is seriously the coolest looking thing. So unique. I am in love with your family’s artistry.
    Amazing job on both the food intakes, relaxing through the meal, and for letting go of expectations. “Yet once we sat down, shared the wonderful meal – I felt calmed and at mostly at ease.” Isn’t it crazy how this works? All the times I have had so much anxiety leading up to a big meal, my worries are always proven wrong as soon as I become engaged with family and the things that really matter. The analogy you made above to Jejansonius is fabulous. I’m so happy you experienced some positive surprises this Christmas and were able to enjoy what matters.

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