Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas in Paris-Things I miss and all I have!

I will admit readily that this time of year is the hardest to be separated from family and friends. I often think back fondly on my family's Christmas eve celebrations; the enormous Christmas dinner that my Grandmother, mother, and aunts used to make; and the painful anticipation of waiting for them to finish washing the dishes so that we could begin the present opening festivities! Then of course there was the challenge by the cousins to outdo the basement tent we had done the year before using my grandmother's old quilts and the chairs from the used dining set. We would then bicker over who got to explore it first. I remember the smells of my grandmothers kitchen. There was always the scent of a large turkey roasting in the oven, buttery rolls, the cinnamon in the pies, peanut brittle, and just the lovely scent of her country kitchen that was around all year long.

Christmas in Paris...for many it would seem a dream vacation. Although it is a very fun place to be around Christmas and New Years, I have to be completely honest and say that after the first year the "sparkle" of being in Paris for Christmas has faded. Our children miss out on church Christmas programs, being with Grandparents, and no one was here to celebrate Micah's first Christmas with us. For us adults, we can only play two player card games; Jonathan misses out on football with the family; and I really miss going to the day after Christmas sales with my Mom and sisters. :) It's been enough to make me very homesick this year.

But lest I sound as though I am slipping into a pit of depression, I must say that this has been an absolutely wonderful Christmas for our little family. We have enjoyed complete relaxation. There are no activities, no one to meet with, and I will risk embarrassment here and say that there have been one or two days when we stayed in our pajamas until around 2 or 3 pm. It has been good for us. Here are a few snapshots from our relaxing break.

This year has brought several days of snow to Paris. However, let me tell you that 3 to 4 inches of snow here are as 7 to 8 inches are in the midwest, if not worse. Buses stop, people spend the night in their cars on the highway, buildings go into a flood of disrepair caused by the melting snow, and everyone generally stays inside unless they must get out. The nice thing is that it is gone within 24 hours. Snow just doesn't stick around, much to the children's dismay.
And although it's not the same as my Grandma's homemade peanut brittle, we have enjoyed some amazing French treats, such as this yummy pistachio nougat.

I bought these hats and made the kiddos wear them. They were pretty good sports.

We also visited the Marchés du Noël that take place all around Paris with vendors selling yummy treats and homemade goods. It wasn't the smell of my Grandmother's kitchen, but it was still an appetizing scent!

Claire was quite excited to find a strawberry iced doughnut for her special treat.

Then Micah got his first ride on a carousel. He had a blast. People kept stopping to watch, laugh, and smile at my kids who were giggling up a storm on the carousel. Thanks, Daddy!

As a family, we read our Advent book every night. The kids loved it, and the reason why Jesus had to come to earth became more real to Claire. She accepted Christ as her Savior 2 weeks before Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we colored pictures and pasted presents on the pictures for Jesus since it was his birthday.

Then Jonathan and I got everything all set and ready for Christmas morning and cuddled on the couch. I think we now have as much anticipation as we did when we were kids. It's so much fun!

The kids were sweet and slept until 8:30am on Christmas morning. They were also super patient and let me take this picture and a few others before opening their gifts.

Of course, it was Micah's first Christmas. He really didn't have any interest in the toys or the paper! He just wanted to crawl!!! He really took off crawling on Christmas Eve, so it was still exciting for him Christmas morning. We did, however, have to clean a few scraps of paper out of his mouth.

We then had Christmas brunch, and set out to play with our goodies...

Jonathan completed this about 1 1/2 hours later. The instructions didn't really say anything, and lets just say that there was "some" assembly required. They hadn't even put the lines on the road. Those were stickers that we got to put on. Haha!! Great memories. I personally love Matthew's worried face in this one.

We ended our fun day by hanging out and watching our new "101 Dalmations" movie. It was an amazing Christmas. We all had a blast celebrating Jesus' birth.

Although it all looks different, we are in a big city apartment and not a country house, munching on nougat instead of peanut brittle, and walking to the Marché de Noël instead of making tents in the basement Christmas is still Christmas because of the One who made it so. Those memories and people will always be missed this time of year. Yet, no matter what, I know that we are celebrating for the same reason. And He NEVER changes.


  1. Praise the Lord that we have The Reason to Celebrate!!! BTW, I enjoy the similarities we share in 'living spaces'....we have the 'small screen' tv also...used to be Mark's pc monitor but he let us have it and he got an old free one. :) Might just have to paint my 'free' dresser red, come spring.

  2. We got the red dresser from a friend who moved out. In Paris, it is cloudy a good portion of the winter. I've been putting more color in our living room. Normally, I'm a neutral color type. Paris is changing me. :) I actually love having a smaller TV, and don't want to go larger. It's nice not having it as the focal point. :)