I know I’m a day late in wishing all of you a Merry Christmas! Or, perhaps I should say, Joyeux Noël! In the midst of getting my new apartment in order, we found time to celebrate well.
On Sunday, the children at church put on a small production. They acted out the Christmas Story complete with narration in French. It was awesome. You can’t see much clearly in this picture, but on the right side, there are actually two kids in a camel costume. Amazing.
On Monday, we celebrated Festivus. Not with the pole, but definitely with the Feats of Strength. I bought a dryer, and rather than wait until mid-January to pay a small fortune for delivery, I opted to take it home myself in the back of the awesome minivan rental I’m rockin’ right now. My mom and I managed to get it from the back of the van in my garage up the elevator and into my apartment. At that point, we called in back up. Thankfully, one of my American expat friends came to the rescue. He joined in on the Feats of Strength and carried the heavier end of the drier up the winding stairs to my loft space. You know what this means…I can do laundry in my own apartment!!! No more assigned laundry times!! And if you remember my traumatic experience with the laundry, you know what a Christmas…err, Festivus miracle this is!
On Christmas Eve, we took on IKEA. Some people wait until Christmas Eve to do all of their shopping. I’m typically done before Thanksgiving, so I’m not usually among the frantic last minute shoppers. I thought we might be dealing with a frightening scene, so we arrived within the hour that IKEA opened. We had a list of items needed – mostly lamps and a few storage solutions. While I started to lose my Christmas joy around hour 3, we made it out alive in four hours. And, we had some Swedish meatballs to celebrate at the end. Definitely a Christmas Eve first for me!
My mom is a master Christmas cookie baker. She made up sugar cookie dough for us to bake. When we returned home from IKEA, we made some Christmas cookies to take to our parties.
They don’t sell cans of icing here like they do in the States, so I learned how to make icing from scratch. It turns out that the food coloring here isn’t very potent, so we used an entire tube of green food coloring resulting in the faint green color of these Christmas trees. This forced us to make yellow snowflakes instead of blue ones like we originally planned. Food coloring is on my list of items to buy when I’m in the States next! Either way, we had fun and they were yummy!
We spent Christmas Eve at a co-worker’s house. They invited all of their expat friends who stayed in Switzerland for Christmas. I knew several of the people and enjoyed introducing my mom to one of my bosses and some of my new friends. Santa even made an appearance – in a Nescafé jacket!
On Christmas morning, we were greeted with stockings from Santa (or maybe it’s Pere Noel here?)! He found us all the way in Switzerland!
And of course, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without matching pajamas. My mama chose them carefully this year – gingerbread men skiing, because we’re in Switzerland!
A friend from church invited us to have Christmas dinner with them. I was in charge of dessert. In brainstorming what I could bring, it became evident that my mom’s traditional go-to’s might not be possible here. There are too many missing ingredients! So, I braved my first ever chocolate cake from scratch complete with homemade icing. (Thanks to Jenny Steffens Hobick for saving the day!)
My friends had a lovely home and made a beautiful meal. It was so fun to celebrate with them!
Hope your Christmas was as lovely as ours. I am so grateful for the kindness of new friends to include me in their celebrations. And so very grateful for the reason we celebrate – our dear Savior’s birth.