Have yourself a merry little Christmas [survey].

Seen, snagged, … that’s what I just had to do when I  spotted this survey over at Amanda’s. Reminiscening past Christmas celebrations surely helps make the holiday spirit resurface at least temporarily – even better if you’re listening to the right tunes while at it.  I’ve filled out the survey before but hey, Christmas happens again every year, too, so why not?!

Egg Nog or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate all the way! At best made from scratch by my mum with that pinch of love added :). Egg Nog is out of question in anyway due to the eggs but I was actually the weird child enjoying my mum’s egg nog-frosted cakes around Easter years and years ago.

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Neither.  Some are wrapped but most hide in bags my mum sewed years and years ago –  we’ve been re-using them every year since.

Coloured lights on tree/house or white?
White lights. It’s fun walking past the houses of others decorating like crazy but constantly looking at that would give me headaches.

Coloured lights on tree/house or white?
No. I’ve only ever heard about that concept and seen it in a few movies. It’s apparently only a tradition in the UK and US??

When do you hang your decorations up?
Is it bad that I don’t have a set date for this? Let’s say around the end of November.

Christmas Eve_dinner_Rotkohl

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert) what’s?
That one’s easy and my whole family would agree: my grandma’s Rotkohl  [in the above picture]. It’s red cabbage sauteed, braised with seasonal spices, vinegar, sugar, apples and some secret ingredients. It’s so.incredibly.delicious. Maybe it doesn’t sound like much typed out but the fact that I don’t miss the meat as long as I get seconds and thirds of this should tell you.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Right now there isn’t a lot yet and you know we’re this close to Christmas Eve. One wish, however, is a subscription to my favourite business magazine, brand eins. Sounds nerdy or boring? So far from it.

Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve?
Yes!  We actually open all gifts on Christmas Eve because that’s the main holiday over here. Unless we see other relatives the next day we don’t give or receive any more gifts on the following two days.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Given we don’t celebrate at the same house every year – alternating between my parents’, my grandparents’ and one of my aunt’s houses – it differs every year.  At my grandparents’ it’s a lot of traditional figurines [that I adore], straw stars,  …. Obligatory are only the red candles.

Christmas Tree 2013

Snow? Love it or dread it?
I’m divided about this.  Christmas without snow isn’t really Christmas, is it? But I could do without the dirty mush it turns into soon. Looking at the current forecast I’d better bring out the flip-flops [you know, the ones I don’t own …] OR ask my dad to get one of those snow cannons used in skiing areas ;).

Real tree or fake tree?
Let’s get real: only real ones perceive that complete Christmas-cozy feeling.  We’ve never had fake ones. Getting ours from the hillbilly vendor living far off in the woods used to be the dad-and-daugther tradition we had. Only not anymore now I won’t be able to go home any earlier than 23rd. At least I’ll get to decorate it with my sister.

Do you remember your favorite gift?
That’s a tough one. I got a lot of amazing gifts throughout all those [already 23! – craziness] years. A memorable one was the dollhouse my grandpa built himself – complete with teeny-tiny light switches in every room that turned the lights on.

What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?
Hands down being with my family.  Especially now that I rarely get to see them in-between holidays.

What is your favourite holiday dessert?
Get ready to be shocked if you’ve been reading for a while because – it’s not chocolate.  My mum’s cinnamon parfait beats everything else. The name says it all: it’s perfect.

Christmas survey 2014_Collage

What is your favourite tradition?
Going on a walk with the whole family – grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and my siblings. I’m not sure we’ll see them all this year as we’re celebrating at my parents’ with my grandma and grandpa coming.  The remaining family members live several hours away and I only get to stay until the 27th.

What tops your tree?
You caught me off guard here. Depending on where we celebrate this decisions up to the man of the house. I think my grandpa has some kind of golden star and I’m not sure about my uncle and dad.

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
Giving because it’s wonderful to see somebody’s joy upon opening a gift to find something they didn’t expect but that fits them perfectly.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
Another tricky one. We don’t sing the same ones every year – plus they’re German – so I’ll go with those that I’m playing over and over on Spotify.  Two of them are “All I want for Christmas” because it reminds me of the cute scene in my favourite movie [see below] and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” as we used to sing it in the school choir. So yes, mostly songs that bring back memories for me. Isn’t Christmas time all about the memories??

Candy canes, yuck or yum?
We hardly have any of these over here and the only ones I’ve spotted at random weren’t even vegetarian. I’m a fan of mint flavours, though.

Christmas 2012_house

Favorite Christmas Movie?
There’s just one answer: “Love, Actually.” I’m this close to buying the DVD every year but then refrain because I want it to stay that special Christmas movie. Who knows about this year, though …?

What do you leave for Santa?
Ah, this is going to make me – and likely the whole of Germany – look so bad: we don’t leave anything out and never did. Before you start throwing candy canes at me, though: We celebrate on Christmas Eve and Santa doesn’t come through chimneys around here but enters through the door. Maybe he planned it this way so he’d have more room left in his stomach once he drops the gifts overseas? Which would make us really kind for not tempting him, don’t you agree?!

Do you prefer to shop online or at the mall?
If I had it my way – and that’s how we did it in recent years – I’d enjoy a whole afternoon out with my mum buying presents. Now that I’ll have to go on the five hour journey home via train I had to go the easy route of ordering online and having the packages delivered to my parents’ house.  It takes away from the cheery holiday spirit completely, though. 😦

Christmas card

Christmas letter or Christmas card?
We largely stopped sending cards years ago and while I pondered sending out a few letters this year time ran away from me. I’d rather write surprise letters throughout the year [remind me to start again!], though, when I have more time to dedicate to every single one.

Happiness-inducing today: The helpfulness of my boss. I know what you’re thinking … but hear me out: she’s been really helpful and even lending an ear when I needed it for some decisions I’m currently making. Plus you know none of my colleagues reads the blog so I’m just being honest here because it truly made my day.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Your turn: Answer as many of the questions as you’d like yourself!

And: Should I buy “Love, Actually” on DVD??

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Spilling the birthday beans

Posting twice again today in celebration of Australia’s special holiday:  The Queen’s birthday Arman Day. The host of spilling the beans – or just: Spill it Sunday – is another year older and demanding birthday facts and confessions. It’s been a while since I last joined so here we go!

Spill-it-Sunday-option-2-1
1. When is your birthday?
The reason why I can’t snark at winter: January 29th.

2. What would your ideal ‘day’ look like?

For whichever reason I find it hard to describe the ‘perfect’ day because aren’t the best birthday those were you make no huge plans and are surprised by how amazing they turn out? Okay, to answer the question: getting enough sleep, eating all of my favourite foods and being with my favourite people.

Root vegetables_2

3. When was your most memorable birthday?

That time I invited everybody from my class in school and we played SingStar all night. Does anybody even remember that? It’s been ages  – my 16th birthday if memory serves me correctly – but it was a blast.

4. When was your worst birthday?

I’ll cheat and won’t go with the worst but the strangest celebration ever. It’s been ages and I have no idea why my parents agreed but I was one of those children who had the idea celebrating their birthday at the Golden Arches had to be incredibly special. If you envied kids who celebrated there while all your parents allowed you was grabbing a Happy Meal: you didn’t miss out on anything. Unless touring a McDonald’s store and receiving an inflatable dragon that had lost pretty much all of its air by the time you went home sounds intriguing to you.

In case you’re wondering: no, the scary clown luckily didn’t make an appearance.

5. What is the best birthday present you have ever received?
Hard to pick. Generally, though, they weren’t the most expensive but those coming from heart: dresses and skirts my sister respectively mum had sewn themselve. Like this one:

Polkadots

Or the Waldorf doll my mum made herself and gave me when I was a wee little one. It’s those gifts that hold special value and a million memories. Knowing the time and effort these gifts required made them as special as they were.

6. What is the worst birthday present you have ever received?

Let’s just say one of my grandmas didn’t really have the best idea of age-appropriate gifts. The bright pink plastic make-up set and [intensely smelling] soap in shape of a sun I got when I was about 15? Well, very considerate but it was… Unusual. And never in use.

7. What is a health related gift on your wish list?

Not wanting to sound too cheesy but one I can only give myself: full recovery. Working on that one. In terms of gifts that money can buy: a treadmill. Not because I enjoyed running on them so much but – winter birthday, remember? – running outside isn’t always that well possible.

8. What is a food related gift on your wish list?
A spiralizer. The [blog] world is giving me constant nudges to get one. These pear noodle parfaits? All kinds of vegetables noodles in this book? Actually, I might ask for one for Christmas.

9. What is your birthday cake of choice?
Ice cream cake. Which I’ve actually never had but – again inspired by the blog world – need on my next birthday. Because ice cream is the better cake.

Childhood throwback, however: Kalter Hund. It’s a no-bake cake made from shortbread sandwiched with a thick chocolate frosting. If this one had ever been missed on any of my birthdays I’d have throw a fit so my mum knew better. Thinking about it Kalter Hund is totally deserving of a healthy makeover…

 

Happiness inducing today: Good news from a friend I hadn’t talked to in a while.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

When was your most memorable birthday?

Did you ever celebrate at McDonald’s or were invited at a friends’s birthday there? It’s safe to say that my own future children will not be allowed to celebrate there. Ever.

 

Christmas, actually

Talk about a late Christmas recap. What can I say? Does spending an all-around family weekend with nerve-wracking yahtzee thrillers [we’re addicted] and the equally fraught task of preparing a Strudel for dinner count as an excuse 😉 ? If not you’ll have to trust me I intentionally waited until today [truth!] because what could be a more amazing topic to talk about on this wonderful Marvelous in my Monday than Christmas? See, you can’t argue with that. Thanks to Katie for hosting us all throughout the year!

MiMM_new

The post title? That’s because, well, this post is all about our Christmas celebration and it’s hard to believe it is actually over again already. Way too early once more. Additionally, this year’s Christmas was unusual in a way. If I’d filled in the survey after  this year’s celebration my answers might have been slightly different. More on that in a second. And the title may or may not also show my fondness of a certain Christmas movie once more.

Advent wreath_grandma

We’re going backwards in this post saving the gifts for last [not judging you if you’re too curious scrolling right down to the end – or at least not much]. Because while our main celebration always is on Christmas Eve most family activites happen on the 25th when all relatives on my mum’s side come over to my grandparents’ house.

Golden_angel

By far one of my favourite parts of Christmas and every of our family gatherings at my grandparents’, actually, is our family walk along the beach. Yes, we’re those folks who bundle up and brave the weather for a walk under any circumstances. It’s been a tradition for as long as I can think and no visit at my relatives’ would be complete without the whole family bonding and chatting on those walks. The calmth of the sea. Unplugged and also elsewise distraction-free catch-up time with cousins, aunts, uncles.

Christm._walk

While we get to see and talk to each other all day long it’s during those walks that conversations really spark and get deeper. I hadn’t seen one of my cousins who moved to Austria for her studies in months so we were in dire need of catching up on each other’s lives. No better way to do so than while trudging through the sand, wind dishevelling our hair and watching the steady lively motion of the waves [can you tell I’m pretty fond of nature?]. Does anybody else feel conversations to be much more inspired when moving outside while talking? Maybe it’s the fresh breeze enlivening ourselves in the whole and sparking

Christmas beach walk

Next up on our regular schedule: cookies. And, oh well, let’s not forget about Torte [yes, I know it’s just called cake, too, but the German word implies so much more for me 🙂 ], Stollen and more cake. My grandma is going all out to make sure everyone’s experiencing a sugar coma ;).

Cookies_at_grandmas

Also one of the marvelous parts of Christmas? Many hugs by my grandpa. They’ve become even more precious to me after a health scare on his side several years ago. One moment can change the meaning of something as simple as a hug altogether. Maybe it’s sappy to say but family truly is the biggest blessing we get in life and while my Christmas had its annoyances and little flaws, too, I’m thankful for every moment I got to spend with my grandpa – and all other relatives. He’s the world’s best hugger – or at least the best known to me and that’s kind of the same thing, right ;)?!

Two of the changes I mentioned above was that my sister and I didn’t get to decorate the Christmas tree this year and – major break with the family traditions! – we didn’t throw the dice to determine who was allowed to unwrap a gift next. Here’s to hoping we’ll get back to it next year.

Christmas Tree 2013

Weihnachtsgeschenke

Does anybody else marvel at the fact that the older we get the less important the gifts under the tree become? Just thinking of how excited I was writing my wish lists weeks in advance and hardly being able to sleep the night before Christmas Eve makes me smile. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy receiving and especially giving gifts – but the additional sleep is much appreciated :). This year I hadn’t asked for any specific gifts which happened to be marvelous because I was even more surprised by every present I received. Not playing favourites but one of the most amazing presents this year would be …

PJ pants

PJ pants! And not just any: My mum knew I’d been unsuccessfully looking for new ones for a while and decided to sew me a pair shortly before Christmas Eve. Can you tell she knows me so well [colour and dots]? Just like her and my sister are quite the talented seamstresses meaning both of them bestowed not only me but every family member with their own handiwork. When transferring the pictures from my camera to my laptop I noticed I actually hadn’t taken any pictures of my presents on Christmas Eve 😯 – and hardly any pictures at all. We were clearly too busy fooling around and wearing hilarious santa hats ;). That’s why I hope you won’t mind a few quickly snapped pictures from today once more featuring the PJ pants in all their glory [thanks, mum]. All I can say is I felt spoiled – and happy my presents were well received, too. Especially since my dad truly approved of his gift, too – a huge relief.

Presents

Unsual also due to the fact it was just seven of us celebrating on Christmas Eve it was a special Christmas nonetheless. Borrowing a term by Kierston I can honestly say my heart was full. Filled with gratitude and love for all the memories made and family bonding time.

Happy last Monday of 2013!

Happiness inducing today: Watching my family’s delight and excitement when playing Yatzhzee – I love that crazy bunch of people.

What was one of your favourite gifts to give and receive this year?

Did you gift any homemade presents? I had the best intentions but ended up going the store-bought route once more. Just wait for it once the next birthday comes up, though :). I’m still taking recommendations for any occasion!

Who’s the best hugger in your family?

Thinking out loud #3

Merry Christmas once more! I think it’s still apt to say on second Christmas day, right?

We just returned from my grandparents’ place hence why I had part of this post pre-written before we left in case you’re wondering about the mix of pre- and post-Christmas ponderings. Expect more detailed Christmas posts during the next days. Now here’s for some Thinking out loud thanks to Amanda!

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. Does anybody else fall into the ‘post-Christmas blues’ or – to say it less dramatical – feel like there should be at least a third or fourth day of celebration added? The anticipation of a whole month of festive atmosphere – and then all of it is over in the blink of an eye. It’s obviously the same every year but I just can’t get used to it. “Finish on a high note.” – I never liked that idea. Especially not when it meant leaving people I love too early again 😦 .

2. Just to rebel a little I won’t be taking down my decorations all that soon. It’s nice to show Santa some respect for all the hard work he’s done the past days for a bit longer, don’t you think 😉

 Christmas_decorat.

3. When unpacking some gifts that I’d ordered shortly before leaving for our relatives’ place I spotted this little guy. If there’s any better sign of way too warm weather on Christmas Eve I don’t know it.

Ladybug

4. Almost as worse as a gift that doesn’t arrive in time is noticing just shortly before the celebration that a well-meant one doesn’t fit. Case in point: After Amanda reminding me of the Smartphone gloves in one of her previous Thinking out loud posts I’d ordered a pair each for my dad and sister as gifts. Only to try one on after opening said box above and … well … above scenario happening. Fits perfectly for my dad – whew! – but obviously not for my sister or me with our smaller hands. One size fits all? Definitely not, dear manufacturer!

5. Talking about the weather I’ll risk getting the stank eye but I was actually glad it was neither cold nor snowy. That’d have turned my favourite part of our family get-togethers a little rough. Want to know my favourite part? Our traditional beach walk. A necessity for every family get-together at my grandparents and an awesome time for long conversations and just an overall fun time with the whole family. Pictures to come for some Monday marvelousness.

Christm. Elks

6. Searching for last-minute Christmas dessert ideas I somehow came across this gem. Can we just take a short moment to talk about how unreal #11 [Biscoff, Nutella, whipped cream] and #29 are? I think I need a snack …

7. It’s no secret that Love, actually is my favourite Christmas movie [or maybe even generally favourite romantic movie]. Hence why I was really surprised – dare I say: shocked – when my mum who’d picked it up at the rental store told me she had to request the employee at the latter to dig it out of the back room. Yes, they’d in fact semi-‘retired’ the movie saying it was a bit older already after all. Seriously? The same store that has age old worn out video [not DVD!] cases sitting on their shelves?!

8. I didn’t mention starting yet another sticker book as part of a supermarket’s campaign. Too late, though, as the offer ends at the end of the year but still. Not to play favourites but I may or may not like this one [a lot] better than the last. Just one word: Disney.

Stickers

9. My sister and her husband are staying at my parents until New Years’ Day so I’m hoping fore family game nights to come. And at least one movie night with me finally watching The Holiday – yes, I still haven’t gotten around to it.

10. Proof #129375940 that my grandma is the best …

Grandma's cookies

Happiness inducing today: Christmas, obviously. But also my grandma sending me home with both a generous serving of her Rotkohl (!!!) and a jar of her homemade cherry jam [so so good].

Tell me about your Christmas celebrations!

How long are you usually keeping up the decorations after the holidays?

Marvelous in my Monday: Snowy, sweet and spoiled

Happy marvelous Monday everybody!

Marvelous

My weekend was once again spent at my parents’ which actually is just now becoming regular. The last two semesters and working weekend shifts didn’t allow me to go home to see my family too often. That’s why I’m embracing the opportunities I get all the more now :). Family is what’s making my whole life more marvelous.

The snowy part of my weekend was enjoyed on a nice walk with my mum. We ended up talking about many things that were on my mind lately. Honestly, whichever worries I might have: Talk-and-walks with my mum always make me feel at least a little more positive afterwards.

Snow

Sweetness found its way into my life with this belated birthday package by my grandma. She left it at my parents’ as we weren’t able to see each other on my actual birthday. Now that’s making it birthday month for sure, right :D?!

One of my current favourite colours nontheless.

One of my current favourite colours nontheless.

What made smile even more was the bar of chocolate. Usually, my grandma adds a Milka chocolate bar (all of which are whole-milk) to the birthday and Christmas presents for any of her grandchildren. As I eat mostly vegan and don’t care about milk chocolate mine usually gets eaten by my siblings or parents which is fine with me. I’d never blame grandma for it – you do all know I make sure to get my chocolate fix in anyway ;).

Not quite Lindt but who am I to discriminate good chocolate ;)?!

Not quite Lindt but who am I to discriminate good chocolate ;)?!

This time, though, grandma bought me an extra dark bar and I was really touched by her thoughtfulness. Warm socks for my always cold feet and chocolate for the soul made me feel seriously spoiled.

Another piece of marvelousness was brushing of winter by wearing one of my favourite dresses. Just because.

 

I’m all about lace any season of the year, really.

I’m all about lace any season of the year, really.

… and another thing that made my Monday marvelous was our fabulous host Katie‘s post today! You know what I’m taking about, right? Congratulations on getting a little rockstar, Katie!

 

What made your weekend marvelous?

Which is your favourite bar of chocolate (brand, cocoa percentage)?

Do you ever wear special dresses/clothes just because?

All I want for Christmas is accomplishment [of my Bucket list]

Only two more days – well, depending on where you are – until Christmas Eve! Aaaaaah!

Christmas challenge

I know I failed regarding Jenny’s Christmas Challenge but I still wanted to answer a few more questions. Hey, it’s the thought that counts, right (okay, not really for me here but let’s pretend it was).

13. Favourite Christmas Book

A family favourite that we’ve been reading ever since I was little:The Tomtes’ Christmas Porridgeby Sven Nordqvist. It’s a magical story about the Swedish tomtes helping the humans in the household throughout the year and being rewarded with a bowl of Christmas pudding. One year, though, things are different. The tomte mother senses the people are about to forget the porridge. She plots a plan to prevent the tomte father from getting angry and saving Christmas. If you don’t know this book you have to (!) read it. Trust me, you’ll love it. Suffice to say our age-old copy of this book looks a little, um, ragged. That’s how much we enjoy reading it.

14. Real or artificial tree?

Real or none! We never had an artificial tree in our house. Sure, regarding the environmental aspect it might be worth a consideration but … I can’t imagine Christmas without the scent of a fir needles in combinations with – obviously! – that of real candles.

15. The best gift you’ve given

One that was quite popular were homemade fairy lights I gave – in different layouts – to both of my grandma’s as well as one aunt. Seeing them my sister requested one, too. Not to mention they were fun to produce, too. Maybe I’ll find an old photo somewhere to show you.

17. Post a picture of an old Christmas card.

Christmas Card

Santa: “So, who are you?” – Children: “Your target group!”

Maybe not traditional but my mum has quite the sense of humor when it comes to cards :D.

(Translation: Santa: “So, who are you?” – Children: “Your target group!”)

18. When do you open Christmas gifts?

Traditionally, gifts are opened on Christmas Eve in Germany. We put them under the tree in the morning and open them more or less late in the evening. A family tradition is playing the dice to decide on who’s allowed to open a gift. Waiting to throw a “six” has never been more agonizing …

Candles II

19. Favourite stocking stuffer

We don’t have stockings in Germany so no stocking stuffers for me. It does seem like a fun tradition, though.

20. Favourite Christmas meal

Seeing as I’m a vegetarian I won’t have the traditional Christmas duck. I did buy a vegan “beef” roast but what I’m mostly looking forward to in anyway is my Grandma’s red cabbage. It’s a German specialty and hers is the very best :).

21. Do you travel on the holidays?

Yes! Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll jump on the train to my aunt’s house were we are celebrating this year. My family celebrates interchangeably either at my Grandparents’ place, our house or my aunt’s.

22. Eggnog or hot chocolate?

I’ve never had eggnog before and seeing as I don’t consume eggs anymore I’ll go with hot chocolate. You can never go wrong with hot chocolate.

 

23. Your plans for Christmas 2012

Grandma's cookies

 

Well, this one inspired this post’s title. “Thanks” to my ED I can’t remember the last carefree Christmas I had. It’s been afflicted with tears shed about food eaten or not eaten, regrets and anxiousness. My bucket list for this year includes:

–          Eating at least one of my Grandma’s awesome cookies that she puts a lot of work into. They’ve been my favourite and I finally want to enjoy one again. Or two.

–          Focus on family rather than food. That’s what Christmas should be all about.

–          Have one count-free day: Three days of celebration and I’m hoping to manage one not thinking about nutrition, fat grams and calories.

– Distract myself from not being able to exercise. My family isn’t into exercise on Christmas because they simply enjoy being together. This one’s going to be hard.

While I’ve been having similar goals in the last year I never accomplished them. But fellow ED fighters like Alexandra gave me the push to try again. This year I hope that blogging makes me more, well, accountable for my plans. So feel free to inquire on how well I did :D.

I most likely won’t be blogging again until after Christmas so:

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Tell me:

What’s your favourite Christmas book? Had you heard of “The Tomtes’ Christmas Porridge” before?

What’s your favourite Christmas meal?

Which are your plans for this year’s Christmas?

Any ideas on how I can stop worrying about not exercising yet eating a lot? I’m embarrassed to say how anxious this makes me and would appreciate any ideas.