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Tis the Season - Our Christmas Traditions

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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Tis the Season - Our Christmas Traditions

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tis the Season - Our Christmas Traditions

Wow...it really is the season. We were lucky to all be together this holiday season...and this year, instead of hectic running around from one event to another, we chose to stay home. I did go mid-morning to see one of our battalion newborn babies at our local hospital...it is always wonderful seeing a Christmas baby...but otherwise, we stayed home and enjoyed each other's company. Here we are in Germany...and no snow this year for Christmas! The sleds stayed parked where they were.

Last night, we stopped by our neighbors for dessert and good cheer. It is always nice to catch up with our stairwell neighbors, and we are extremely lucky not to have the in-fighting and passive aggressivity that some of the other stairwells have. Of the five out of eight families who were here, two of those will head out skiing for New Year's and one family had a total of 14 guests visiting from out of town and planned to stay in. I couldn't imagine the logistics of them going anywhere as a group anyway. We wrapped up coming back to our apartment, checking out Santa on the Norad Santa Tracker, singing a few songs, reading the Christmas story and then leaving cookies...and in a new German tradition...beer...out for Santa. Each child also left a note...how sweet.

I retreated to the guest room to do my frantic wrapping, under the auspices that I had to wrap some of dad's gifts. I am happy to say that more was not best this year...we REALLY toned down the giftgiving and materialism. Each child had about nine gifts, mostly books, and my husband and I...just a few. As every year, both the dog and the cat each got a gift too. Then...exhaustion and into bed and sugarplums dancing in my head...this is the first year we decided to bypass the Nutcracker Ballet...but that is yet another story. It must've literally been on my mind.

Since I had planned ahead and baked our traditional Christmas Stollen a few days ago, we were able to have that for breakfast. One day I will have to post the recipe...it tastes MUCH better and is more flavorable and more moist than the ones you buy in the package. The recipe was handed down from my husband's grandmother, who migrated to America from Cologne. It's nice to think about those who came before us, while I prepare this decadent treat.

Once every one is dressed, beds made, full breakfast tummies, out comes the camera and video camera and the unwrapping commences! It's always fun to watch the facial expressions when gifts are opened...both the good and the bad...and mmmoooommmm! Come on! We always save the gifts that came in the mail for last, and my father did not disappoint with some out-of-the-ordinary books and of course a wii. I resisted for so long....guess I need to enter the gamer world now too, to an extent. It'll be nice to see what all the hullabaloo is about.

Since dinner last night was lowkey with some pasta with cream sauce and some smoked salmon...a Christmas Eve favorite, today's menu was more robust and included prime rib with horseradish sauce, creamy mashed potatoes, crispy grilled asparagus, a vinaigrette German green salad and sparkling grape juice in the "nice" crystal glasses. I am still full as I sit and write this. I honestly think that this year, I won't get an opportunity to eat my Walker's Shortbread, which my husband religiously gifts me....every single year...is he trying to get me to go fat?

And tomorrow...we'll try something different. We decided to take a trip down to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangua, two of Mad King Ludwig's castles....just for the day. Otherwise, more hanging out and enjoying the holiday before the big New Year's Eve Party we plan to attend...again, as a family. Let me just bask in it for now....as next year promises to be a whirlwind. Good night and happy holidays to you all!

What are your family Christmas traditions?

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