The holiday season is officially over, so let’s take a look back at all of the festive feasts and holiday baking we enjoyed, starting with Thanksgiving. I think the turkey turned out especially well this time around!
We had our “pick out dinner” on Christmas Day:
And our “fancy” Christmas dinner two days later. I never want to prepare a beef tenderloin any other way!
On New Year’s Eve, we had our traditional hot chocolate bar, but we made it fancy, with the addition of homemade hot chocolate bombs!
And on New Year’s Day, we had our traditional pork tenderloin, with an untraditional (for us) side of twice-baked potatoes:
On to the baking. Of course there were pies (seven!) for Thanksgiving:
We made five types of German Christmas cookies in Christmas School:
And another ten types of Christmas cookies besides!
There were eight different cakes throughout the season:
And some other various treats including Christmas cracker candy and lussekattes:
This was a fun and delicious season, but now the kitchen is closed!
Our celebration started, as always, on Christmas Eve, with Christmas Crunch for breakfast:
I played Animal Crossing early, because I knew that might be my only opportunity to deliver gifts for Jingle and say “Merry Christmas” to Roald:
The Fab Five completed this year’s Advent project, the Lego Disney Castle.
Speaking of Disney, Ladybug and I made red velvet Mickey Mouse waffles for lunch:
And then we went to church. It was quite early for us…3 p.m. It was definitely different to go to Christmas Eve church when it was still so bright out!
It was even bright when we stopped to see the city of St. Louis Christmas tree after church…but that made it easier to see the snow on the ground. We finally had a white (and very cold) Christmas!
It was also still pretty bright when we drove through the Way of Lights, but after all these years, it was kind of cool to see it in a different way:
I took lots of pictures when we got home:
And we enjoyed some cake:
We played a couple games of Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries. I suffered one of my greatest losses of all-time in the first game!
The theme for this year’s Christmas jammies was (surprise, surprise) Mickey Mouse:
I still always set up the Little People nativity scene before bed:
We almost kind of got to sleep in on Christmas Day…but just barely. Stockings were the first order of business:
And then our traditional Christmas morning coffee cake:
And then we headed back to church for the Christmas Day service.
We found time for a nice family photo:
After we got home, we opened presents.
And then I got to work putting together the “pick out dinner.”
I was once again very pleased with how my charcuterie board turned out!
It’s such a fun and delicious meal!
We had another little reminder of our vacation when I burned the Christmas candle we picked up at Disney Springs:
Yesterday was a pretty quiet day because we waited for today for our fancy Christmas dinner. The table looked especially nice with our (kind of) new glasses added to the place settings:
For dinner, I made a beef tenderloin, which turned out beautifully. We also had sautéed mushrooms, hasselback potatoes, roast Brussel sprouts with a balsamic glaze and dried cranberries, our favorite cherry Jell-O, and rolls:
It was delicious and elegant!
For dessert I made a pair of yule logs. I tried a new recipe for a red and green variety, which was delicious, but not as pretty as I wanted it to be. I also made a favorite gingerbread variety, which was delicious and pretty!
The whole season of Advent went by quite quickly, and so has the beginning of the Christmas season, but I’m looking forward to making the most of the days ahead!
Can you stand one more look back at the holiday season? I hope so, because it’s time to wrap-up all of the festive feasts and baked goods I prepared from Thanksgiving through Epiphany!
Our Thanksgiving dinner was fairly standard, although I did make a second kind of stuffing, and instead of just roasted carrots, I made a blend of roasted winter vegetables (which did include carrots):
Our pick-out dinner is always my favorite meal of the year, and I thought it was extra special with the full charcuterie board I prepared:
Our fancy Christmas dinner (which we had on the Sunday after Christmas) featured beef Wellington:
Our New Year’s Eve hot chocolate bar looked a little different this year, but it was still delicious!
Pork tenderloin is becoming something of a tradition on New Year’s Day:
And finally, our most recent “festive feast,” Ryan’s birthday dinner last week:
I made ten pies over the holidays (with a lot of help from the girls):
We baked more cookies than I can count, including several new varieties, my favorite of which was the Linzer Augen:
“Only” six cakes this time around (do Yule logs count as cakes?):
And some other assorted treats, including my first attempt at cannoli and gingerbread Oreo truffles:
It’s not like I’m going to stop cooking anytime soon, because we still need to eat, but I’m looking forward to planning some simpler meals for a bit!
After what was a very strange and low-key Christmas last year, this year’s three-day Christmas celebration was closer to the normal we remember. We started the day on Christmas Eve by forgetting to eat the Christmas Crunch I had been saving specifically for that day. The Fab Five (specifically Turkey) finished building the Lego Millennium Falcon in the morning:
I found some time to play Animal Crossing and deliver gifts to all my neighbors:
We enjoyed Portillo’s for an early dinner before church:
And we got to go to church inside this Christmas Eve!
On the way home, we stopped to see the city of St. Louis Christmas tree and drove through the Way of Lights:
Of course I took pictures when we got home!
We lit the Advent wreath and had birthday cake:
And the Fab Five received their yearly gift of Christmas jammies…this year’s theme was gnomes!
I filled the stockings and made sure the tree and nativity scene were just right before I went to bed:
On Christmas Day morning we had our traditional Christmas coffee cake, plus the previously-forgotten Christmas Crunch:
We got to go to church on Christmas Day this year!
And I even had a chance to take a picture of the Fab Five without their masks before the service because we arrived so early and there was hardly anybody else there yet:
We opened presents after we got home:
And had the best meal of the year, the “pick out dinner.”
There were old favorites and a few new items:
I think the star of the meal, though, was the charcuterie board I put together, featuring salame roses:
Seriously, it’s the most delicious dinner ever!
And this morning, we were back at church, and again we had an opportunity to take a mask-free picture, this time of the whole family!
Tonight we had our fancy Christmas dinner, featuring beef Wellington:
It was also a delicious dinner (but not as good as the pick out dinner!).
For dessert I made both a gingerbread Yule log with sugared cranberries and a more traditional chocolate variety:
So this Christmas was still a little different, but more familiar than last year. I’m so grateful we had more opportunities for worship this year, and the ability to have family visit. Maybe next Christmas will be more normal still!
I often take a look back at the holiday baking I did from Thanksgiving through Epiphany; this year, I thought it would be fun to look back at all of the holiday meals and treats we’ve enjoyed, starting with Thanksgiving dinner:
We had our pick out dinner on Christmas Day this time:
And our fancy Christmas dinner on the Sunday after Christmas:
Of course we had our traditional New Year’s Eve hot chocolate bar:
And a special New Year’s Day dinner to start the new year right:
And finally, our Ryan’s Birthday/Epiphany feast:
On to the baking. There were pies for Thanksgiving:
And several cakes throughout the season, for St. Nicholas Day, Santa Lucia Day, Jesus’ Birthday, the fancy Christmas dinner, and New Year’s Day:
We baked so many Christmas cookies!
And an obligatory “other” section, for things like lussekattes, coffee cake, and even some special holiday beverages:
I put in a little extra effort this year, to make up for the fact that we couldn’t go anywhere or do most of our normal Christmas activities. In the end, I think we’ll have a lot of delicious memories from this holiday season!
Time for a look at this year’s scaled-back Christmas celebration. Some things were the same, like starting Christmas Eve with a bowl of Christmas Crunch:
Some things were different…but not necessarily because of COVID-19. I had a fun time playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons and helping Jingle deliver his gifts yesterday morning:
The Fab Five finished this year’s Advent project, Lego Diagon Alley:
And I played Animal Crossing some more:
Our Christmas Eve dinner was different this year…I ordered tamales from Portillo’s, and we had them before church.
I always take pictures before church. This year, I took two sets. One with the year’s hottest accessory:
And one without:
This year, we attended an outdoor Christmas Eve service. It was cold, so we weren’t too sad it was short (although I missed all off the familiar Christmas hymns!). We did chuckle when a helicopter flew over during “Silent Night,” drowning out the singing!
We drove through the Way of Lights on the way home:
For Jesus’ birthday cake this year, I made a peppermint chocolate cake with two kinds of frosting (white chocolate peppermint buttercream inside, and an Italian buttercream outside). I think this is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made!
Of course there were new Christmas jammies:
We skipped playing Ticket to Ride on Christmas Eve, so I just had to fill the stockings and set up the nativity scene under the tree before bed:
We didn’t have to get up early, so we enjoyed our traditional Christmas morning coffee cake a little later than usual (but not much):
And since we didn’t have a Christmas Day service to go to (probably the biggest disappointment of the holiday for me), we opened presents in the morning, which was very strange!
We had our traditional Christmas Eve “pick out dinner” for Christmas Day lunch…and dinner (we’re saving our fancy Christmas feast for Sunday…stay tuned!). Here’s a look at some of the things we had:
We spent the afternoon watching Christmas movies, including my very favorite, White Christmas. We played our annual Christmas Eve game of Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries tonight. And since we were a day late, we also played the new Ticket to Ride game Ryan gave me, the 15th anniversary edition with clear trains, which I love! Everything is different this year…we might as well embrace it!
“Hail, O everlasting morn! Hail, redemption’s happy dawn! Sing through all Jerusalem: ‘Christ is born in Bethlehem!'”
I thought Advent went by quickly, but our three-day-long Christmas extravaganza flew by even more rapidly!
As always, our celebration began Christmas Eve morning, with a breakfast of Christmas Crunch:
New on Christmas Eve this year was putting the final touches on Lego Hogwarts Castle, a project the Fab Five worked on throughout Advent:
We had our “pick out dinner” for lunch as we have for the last few years, and it may have been the best one yet! In addition to our Christmas Eve favorites, which included a few favorites from tea parties, too, we added a Volpi Salame plus a large basil roltini.
After lunch, we headed to church, where Ladybug had the solo for the first verse of “Once in Royal David’s City.”
I especially enjoyed the Quempas Celebration.
It was nice to get a picture of the Fab Five in the newly renovated church sanctuary after the service:
We drove through the Way of Lights on the way home:
And then I took all of the pictures!
It’s always exciting to light all of the candles in the Advent Wreath!
Jesus’ birthday cake turned out a little better than last year’s, but not by much, because it fell apart a bit on one side. At least I could get a semi-decent picture, and the chocolate peppermint flavor certainly tasted good!
The entire family, including Ryan and me, received matching Christmas jammies this year, and these may have been the cutest ones yet!
Turkey joined Ryan and me for our annual game of Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries, and he won by a lot.
Chickadee set up the nativity scene before I filled the stockings and we headed to bed:
We were up very early on Christmas Day, and I finally got pictures of all of the children while they were opening their stockings!
We enjoyed our traditional Christmas Day cherry coffee cake for breakfast:
But that paled in comparison to the beautiful Christmas sunrise…”A holy day has dawned upon us!”
Back at church, the adult choir had the opportunity to sing again, including these two beautiful descants:
Of course I had to get another picture after the service:
After lunch, we opened presents:
The rest of Christmas Day was fairly quiet…we watched Christmas movies, as well as a few episodes of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which the Fab Five received for Christmas.
Yesterday, on Boxing Day, we had our big, fancy Christmas dinner. As always, I had fun setting the table:
This year’s dinner included roast beast (a standing rib roast that I found for a steal at Aldi), mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, Jell-O, and croissants, plus a festive Comet and Cupid Cabernet Sauvignon for the adults. I think I cooked the beef extraordinarily well (or maybe good would be better, if not grammatically correct, because it was definitely not well-done!).
We had a trio of Christmas desserts, and I hit pretty much every Christmas flavor except peppermint. There was cranberry-apple bread pudding with a vanilla cream sauce, gingerbread-eggnog trifle, and a chocolate Yule log:
And that’s the end of another Christmas celebration. I’m already thinking about how we can celebrate next year!
This whole Christmas season has been a bit more challenging than usual, because of my injured ankle. My CAM boot came off exactly a week before Christmas, and I was determined to have our usual, festive, three-day Christmas event, while relearning how to walk normally, starting with our favorite Christmas Eve breakfast of Christmas Crunch:
As we have for the last few years, we had our “pick out dinner” for lunch, before heading into the city for church. This year, we had our standard crackers and various cheeses, summer sausage, buffalo Chex mix, and jalapeño popper and rotel dips (with festive red and green tortilla chips!). We also enjoyed deviled eggs, shrimp, pizza bagels, mozzarella sticks, sausage squares, cranberry brie bites (a new recipe that was so good!), and cheese squares.
We then went to church, where “The Bigs” and Ryan were singing in the Christmas Eve service. I was very happy to wear only an ankle brace on my left leg with my standard Christmas Eve dress!
There’s always one piece of music that really stands out to me…this year, it was “Where Shepherds Lately Knelt”:
I took a picture of the Fab Five after church…in the church basement, where the service was held because the sanctuary is undergoing extensive renovations!
On the way home, we drove through the Way of Lights at Our Lady of the Snows:
At home, I took more pictures, of course:
For the first time ever, the children received completely matching Christmas jammies, and they even were in keeping with this year’s Harry Potter theme:
And then time for Jesus’ birthday cake. Doesn’t it look pretty? It’s a good thing I took this picture the day before, right after I finished decorating it, because apparently there’s too much humidity in our refrigerator for the cookie icing to set up properly, and it ran everywhere. I’m told the cake still tasted good, though…I, however, was too upset to try it.
I kind of had a meltdown at that point. I was so tired, and my ankle was bothering me, and I was just done for the day. Oh, and did I mention that at that point, we were on day four with no hot water, as we were waiting on a part and a repair on our water heater? Just done. So Ryan and I didn’t play Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries like we usually do on Christmas Eve, and we didn’t watch the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker. I did get the stockings filled and the tree prepared before I went to bed, though:
Things looked better in the morning (even though I didn’t sleep much because my ankle was still bothering me). We had fun opening stockings (although the boys continued to elude me in my early-morning photography):
And enjoyed our Christmas Day coffee cake:
I have really enjoyed wearing this Pinup Girl Clothing dress all throughout the season, and I was especially excited to wear it on Christmas Day without the CAM boot as an accessory!
We then drove back into the city for the Christmas Day Divine Service, where Ryan, Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug were singing in the choir:
Another picture in the basement, this time of the whole family:
After lunch, we opened presents. Bunny found the pickle ornament on the tree this year, so she got to hand out the gifts.
The rest of the day was spent snacking, relaxing, and preparing for the big Christmas feast, which we had yesterday. The star of the meal was a smoked ham from Beast Craft BBQ. We also had mashed potatoes and gravy, roast carrots, butternut squash gratin, croissants, and our favorite cherry Jell-O “salad.” You may notice a lack of festive table photos…that’s because I didn’t use the china (other than serving pieces) or set the table with our linens. My ankle might be healed, but I’m still kind of slow and still tire easily after being on my feet all day, so that was something I let go of this time.