I didn't do much in the way of decorating for the holidays. For one thing, Lilie is still very much in puppy chew mode, so I needed to make sure nothing was anywhere she'd be able to reach it. For another thing, I've been feeling really run down lately, and not sleeping too well, so I didn't feel up to doing much. Also, I'd have had to rush to put them away after Christmas, otherwise I'd have been trying to put them away while also trying to get ready for going away. The "going away" part is a trip to Wales that I'll already be home from at the time this post goes live, and which I'll tell you more about another day. Anyway, as I was saying, I didn't do much decorating for the holidays. But I felt wrong not having a tree at all. So I got a little wooden tabletop one - perfect for keeping out of Lilie's reach - and set that up on the table, along with a polar bear my Mam gave me. Here they are:
My celebrations themselves were quieter than normal too. Not that I usually do a lot over the holidays anyhow. But things were quiet even by our usual standards. I wasn't feeling up to doing much, so I didn't.
The Winter Solstice was acknowledged, but my celebrations were about as quiet as you can get while still celebrating something: a very short bit of meditation, the eating of carrot cake (frosted, with walnut pieces on top) and the eating of a bit of chocolate Yule log (brought more for Kelly, but I had a small piece) was all I managed.
On Christmas Eve, I'd planned to watch several Christmas movies. Well, I watched "Santa Clause - The Movie" while eating mince pies with squirty cream (pictured below on my penguin plate) but didn't watch any other movies. I read less than planned too. There were five Christmas stories I wanted to read over the Christmas long weekend, and I only managed three of them: two new to me ones you'll see mentioned among my December book reviews - if you're interested in looking - and "The Bear Father Christmas Forgot" (my traditional Christmas Eve quick bedtime read). I only managed the three by finishing one of them on Christmas Day.
Christmas Day started with our stockings...
...You can tell which is mine and which is Kelly's by our names on them. Lilie's is the polar bear one, and the other one is the one for the rodent gang (this year shared by Joshua, Mollie, and Maizie). Yes, I know the furkid stockings are in both shots. With how we had the stockings set up on the table that was the easiest way to get them all photographed.
The rest of the day involved a very excited puppy, presents for everyone - rodents, human, and puppy alike - and phonecalls to and from various family members. There were plenty of things available to snack on, but I didn't eat much. I did enjoy a nice cheese and cranberry sandwich though (something I made after having enjoyed a bree and cranberry sandwich Kelly brought me home for lunch earlier in the month). I was feeling really rough though, so just wasn't all that hungry.
I got some great presents, mostly revolving around the themes of DVDs, books, and animals, along with a bit of money I haven't spent yet. The animal things are technically toys, but I don't care, because I happen to think they're fun. They double as ornaments, and things to keep my hands busy when I'm thinking, reading, or watching a movie. Anyway, I had Kelly take a few photos for me, so here's some of what I got:
A cuddly lemar:
A wind up robot (who has been cheerfully walking back and fourth across my desk while I've been waiting for the various photos in this post to upload) and a little Santa on a shooting star ornament I got in a Kinder surprise chocolate Santa:
And this thing here, which is called a fidget spinner:
It's a stress relieving toy, which also makes a good thing to just fiddle with when you want something to do with your hands. I'd never heard of them before opening mine on Christmas morning, but have had a lot of fun playing with it since then.
Anyway, there was also a tub of zoo animals, a couple of ponies, and a dinosaur, which aren't among the things I had Kelly take photos of. I also didn't bother getting him to take photos of the DVDs and such. I got a load of treats too, but I didn't bother getting him to do photos of those either.
Oh, and here are the Christmas cards we got this year:
By the way, thanks to everyone who sent presents, cards, or even just holiday greetings!
Anyway, we have our Christmas dinner late most years these days, and this year was no exception. Being a vegetarian, I'm always on the look out for something new to have alongside my roast potatoes, sprouts, etc. Earlier in the year I'd seen a recipe for a woodland pie, and another for savory lentil mushroom hand pies, which I liked the look of. I'd considered making one, or both, this Christmas. As the day was approaching, I knew I wasn't going to be feeling up to making both though, and couldn't decide which I wanted to try more, especially since I liked both, but disliked parts of both too. So I made my own version, which I've been calling a "vegetarian Christmas pie" (though I believe the pie is actually vegan friendly too). It consists of mushrooms and onions fried up together in some apple cider vinegar, and then put in a pie with a mixture of chestnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, dried cranberries, and cranberry sauce. I can't tell you amounts, since I didn't really measure or weigh things. It was cooked until the pastry was golden brown, and served with honey roast parsnips, roast potatoes, sliced carrots, and sprouts. I was the only one who was eating it, since Kelly and Lilie had honey roast ham, so you'll have to take my word for it on how it tasted. Actually, it was only the fact it was only me who'd be eating it that made me consider an experiment with cooking to be a good idea for a holiday main meal: I'm the only one who would have been disappointed if it didn't work out. As it turned out though, I wasn't disappointed. It wasn't the most amazing of the recipes I've come up with, but it was quite tasty. I probably should have chopped the nuts a bit more, but other than that, I think it worked out really well.
That was it for our holiday celebrations, since we never do anything to celebrate on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day these days. If I'm awake for it, I listen for the nearby fireworks at midnight, but that's about it. This year I still wasn't feeling too well, so wasn't bothered if I heard the fireworks or not. As it turned out though, I was awake for them, since I got woken up just before they started. There aren't any photos or videos to share with you though.
Oh, and... If you're wondering... No. I didn't get any more snow. Plenty of wind, a fair amount of rain, but no snow, despite a snow watch being issued for our area two days after Christmas.