December 26, 2013

Christmas Continues...

I was positively surprised to find out (after 21 years of my life) that Christmas doesn’t end after 24th day!

I had to look this up from the internet! I found that celebration of Christmas starts on 24th of December, on Christmas Eve - however the main Christmas Day a.k.a. the first Christmas Day is on the next day, 25th of December. The day following Christmas Day, 26th of December, is called Boxing Day (and is the second Christmas Day). These both days are official holidays in most European countries. Now I realize what "Merry Christmas & happy holidays" means exactly - I used to think the days after Christmas Eve are just days, when people can stay home and not go to work, but they are actually Christmas. I feel so silly to find this out only now...

So we continued celebrating Christmas. We drank sparkling red wine (yes, it does exists!) and started to set a whole different looking Christmas table than yesterday – this time with crystal and red.

I found this beautiful monogram of the first letter of my name from Tampere's Art Fair which was held on this year's October - I managed to talk my mother over to get herself a monogram too. I thought they would look nice on our Christmas table setting against red, and they did!

We had planned to watch “Holiday” on Christmas but the days had been so full of everything that we hadn’t have the time. Tonight we did had time for a movie but when we saw that “The King's Speech” was coming from the TV (a TV premiere in Finland) we decided to watch it instead.

Before the movie started I started to bake a vegan Christmas spice Bundt cake.

The cake went in the oven and we set the table on the living room full of candles to create a proper movie night atmosphere:

The movie started at 9 p.m. and we caved in to the sofa and started to watch it.

“The King's Speech” is a British historical drama film made in 2010 and directed by Tom Hooper. King George VI (played by Colin Firth) has a stammer, and to cope with that he sees many doctors before his wife (played by Helena Bonham Carter) finds an Australian speech and language therapist Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush). After the difficult seeming start, the men become friends as they work together. After his brother abdicates the throne, the new King relies on Logue to help him make his first wartime radio broadcast on Britain's declaration of war on Germany in 1939.

It was very interesting and good. Before it came a document of the actual George VI, but we recorded it for we didn’t have time to watch it before the movie started. We planned to watch it later...

The Christmas Bundt came out from the oven in the middle of the movie. It was my first spice Bundt cake and needs some fixes to be done so it would be perfect (more dough, for example) – but it was edible.

The company was good, the movie was good, the food was good, everything was good... I’m so glad the Christmas wasn’t over yet.

December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

It has become a tradition to me to "split" the Christmas between my parents, when I go to my dad first and then I go to my mom. I have used to go to my dad the day before Christmas Eve and stood there over night until Christmas Eve, but now he was out of town on the day I planned to go there so I went there a few days earlier, so I could be there before Christmas. Being there after Christmas wouldn’t have felt quite the same...

On Saturday, 21st of December I woke up and packed my things so I would be ready to go to my dad’s. Before my mom took me there we dropped my friends presents to them and catch up a little bit. When I arrived to my dad’s we left to take her wife and niece and her friend to her sister. After that we stopped by at my home so I could go get an USB stick of the photos of the latest ”Patriotic Festivities” (Isänmaallinen juhla). Then we went to my dad’s and started to watch to the old photos.

We went to get my bed from downstairs and my dad rang their neighbor’s doorbell just to say hi, but they invited us inside. We drank a glass of red wine and my dad mentioned to the neighbor man about a boxing match which was about to take place later on the evening, where the main match was be between Finnish Ville Piispanen and Italian Michele di Rocco. The neighbor got all excited and since the paid internet broadcast didn’t work in their place they invited themselves to my dad’s home. The neighbor lady made a huge plateful of tiny sandwiches – all meat I noticed – and there was also a plateful of cold smoked reindeer.

When I said that I do not eat meat the neighbor lady made me a tiny plate of my own, with vegetables, cheese, cream cheeses and butter. How nice of her...

It looked good, but I don’t ever butter my bread and I don’t like butter and didn’t fancy for the cream cheeses so I just ate a few cheese sandwiches with red bell pepper slices. But I didn’t say anything out loud so I would not offend the neighbor lady for she had seen all the effort to make the sandwiches all by herself. I retreated to the kitchen to make food and to have some time alone for the neighbors were quite bubbly personalities – I could hear them all the way from the living room to the kitchen. I made chili sin carne for I have been trying to eat food as much away from the Christmas food so it will be a “new” thing for me on Christmas Eve. My dad stopped by often to see how I was saying how nice it was that I was in there.

My dad’s wife came back and joined us to the living room. The boxing match started at 9:30 p.m. and there were many matches before the main boxing match with the Finnish and the Italian guy started. I had said that boxing is a brutal sport but it seemed kind of boring in the end – maybe because the “Rocky” movies have stuck hard on my mind and I perceive boxing as brutal as that. We googled famous boxers with my dad’s iPad while waiting for the main boxing match, while my dad and his neighbor were discussing about boxers and famous matches. We started to remember last Christmas with my dad when we watched a document Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and about their match “Thrilla in Manila” and what led to it. And now I was sitting there again watching boxing – truly a different kind of Christmas. The main boxing match started around midnight. I was tired so I snoozed between the rounds, even I tried to pay attention. In the end, the Italian guy won (if I remember right the boxing match was held in Italia so go figure...). After the boxing match I went straight to bed.

On the next day my dad came to wake me up saying that they would go to work for a while. He said that I could wake up when I wanted and said he would be gone for over an hour and dropping his wife to her mother. She wanted to spend Christmas time with her family for they would be gone overseas for Christmas and I totally understood that, even it would have been nice to see her more. I went to watch TV until my dad came back. He started to practice Christmas songs he would be performing with the choir later on that evening at Pirkkala’s church. We had no time to waste. I packed my things and got myself ready while my dad was putting on his tailcoat and then we left. First my dad dropped me to my mother so I could get myself ready for the concert. I put on my make-up and left early to get good seats. I got in to the front row. I wrote about the concert on one of my latest posts.

After the concert I got home and saw my mom had been working hard to get the house clean for Christmas. I loved how Christmasy it already looked. I cleaned my room and we decided to continue on the next day to get everything ready.

On the next day, the day before Christmas Eve, we took care of the rest of the groceries and continued cleaning up the house. Later we decorated the Christmas tree.

On Christmas Eve I like to watch "Santa Claus’ Hotline" where kids can call and sing and talk with Santa. It’s hilarious and cute.

I also like to watch "The Snowman" every year. It is so touching...

We had gathered all the presents in the same place, so we could find all them when it was time to open them:


It has been a tradition that I can open one present when it’s Christmas Eve – I left the bigger ones for later and opened a small one which turned out to be a gift token to a beautician. What a nice gift.

One present was particularly use-right-away-kind for my friend and his girlfriend gave us a basket with chocolate and baked goods; buns and star-shaped Christmas pastries – made without eggs.

After we had woken up I started to look my recipes for the food we would be making. My friend had texted me that she liked the gift I had given her and I felt good about that. I tried to skimp my presents and not open them but I couldn’t. Since my friend had opened her present from me I shall open her present for me. When I tore open the paper I was amazed – there was a beautiful quill with purple feather and a calligraphy pencil and bottle of ink. I was not the only one who was interested about the quill...


We started to make rice porridge and I called to my friend to thank her for her present and we catch up what had been going on.

After the porridge was ready we traditionally hid an almond in there. The funny thing was that neither of us found it – maybe tomorrow...

We had emptied a wooden basket when we were doing our Christmas cleaning and decorating the Christmas tree – the cats took it as their own immediately and it has been a hit place to sleep in since. It seemed to be okay as it was but we put a blanket on the bottom of the basket and then the cats seemed to wait in line to get into it. 

Before we started to make food, we made appetizers – my mom made a fish plate and I made a bread with fake fish roe mousse. It was so good!

We prepared foods for our Christmas table for hours but it all was beyond worth it – they all came out so good. It seems that we have topped ourselves every year – for example, this was the best Christmas food and table we had set in years!

I have compared my plates on every year and looked back old pictures – the content of my plate has become very versatile comparing what I used to eat when I had just turned vegan or vegetarian. On this Christmas I think my plate was perfect; it had everything from salted mushroom salad to mixed beetroot salad, to casseroles (carrot casserole, sweetened potato casserole, sweet potato casserole) and oven baked seitan “ham”. This year I didn’t make rutabaga casserole because I’m not really into it... 

I had opened my presents all during the day but I had spared the biggest one and the most inviting present last – it literally said “open me” and it had tickled me to open it the whole day. 

The final present was from my mom and it was the one she had said which was the last one for it was sold out in many stores. It was a nightdress with black top and black-and-white striped pants. I loved them! I also got two movie tickets and a gift token to a beautician among other things I’ve got. But all of them were something I need and will use, nothing unnecessary. 

Later we drank a glass on pink sparkling wine before we started to think heading up to our beds. I am happy, I am full and Christmas Eve couldn’t have gone better... It was perfect. And now there’s nothing left to do but to cave in under my sheets and go to sleep. Good night! 

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