Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas, everyone!

It's Christmas Day and Wife and I are learning to share.

We had our 7th annual international-themed Christmas Eve last night. This year's country was Germany and it was a huge success!  Everyone was responsible for their own costume and it could be as extravagant or as simple as the wearer pleased. Everyone participated, and the attire did in fact range from simple to extravagant -- and it was a hoot!

For preliminaries, we set up a beer garden in the entry hall with four kinds of German beer. Wife also made pretzels and we had some other appetizers as well. Full disclosure: we did make one departure from the German tradition -- we iced down the beer. Just couldn't go that far.

Our meal included Oktoberfest Beer Cheese Soup (to die for), Sauerbraten (German Pot Roast), Chicken Schnitzel, Spaetzle with Gruyere and Carmelized Onions and Red Cabbage. For dessert, Wife made a German Chocolate Bombe (and it was the bomb!) and a Black Forest Cake.

Folks, it was a feast to behold!

Before dinner, I sang the first verse of "Silent Night" in German ("Stille Nacht"), which I learned in church as a child.

Our centerpiece was a simple Advent wreath, which originated in Germany. Each of our five adult children read a summary of the symbolism of the four candles representing the four Sundays in Advent, and the Christ Candle which is in the center.

We also played some fun games and read the Christmas story together (FSIL did the honors this year, as the newest family member) before going to church at 11 p.m. and welcoming in Christmas Day.

It was another memorable night. Wife's and my eyes met many times during the evening as we agreed how incredibly blessed we are.

I said earlier that today we are learning to share. Older Son and Daughter are each spending the day with their in-laws/future in-laws respectively.

But Wife, Younger Son and I have had a fulfilling day. At 8 a.m. we went to the Nashville Rescue Mission, where I serve on the board of directors, and helped prepare lunch that would be served later in the day. We sliced tomatoes, prepared salads, peeled about a thousand potatoes and sliced dozens of pieces of cake. It was gratifying, to say the least.

Older Son, DIL and DIL's parents will join us for a late afternoon meal and tomorrow we'll do our family Christmas celebration a day late.

Below are a couple of photos from last night, and one from this morning at the Rescue Mission.

I wish for each of you a blessed Christmas and New Year.


Kelly said...

Oh how fun!! I look forward to hearing "where you've been" each year and must say Germany was a great choice, one filled with endless possibilities.

You've had a fulfilling celebration already with much more to look forward to.

Merry Christmas, Bob! (Singing Silent Night to myself in German as I type this)

Bob said...

And of course, Kelly, you remember singing it with me!

Bob Barbanes: said...

Another fun, uplifting post! I too enjoy hearing about your...somewhat odd Christmas tradition. But it sounded great! And this one I fully endorse! I am one-quarter German (my father's side). Mom was all-Irish.

When I was a kid sometimes dad would take us out to a local German restaurant in NYC where we'd feast on seemingly exotic foods like sauerbraten, spaetzle and other delicacies that we'd never get at home. Oh, the fond memories, such that even today a trip to a German restaurant is a special treat for me.

Plus-one on chilling the beer though - how on earth do people drnk that stuff warm?

Glad you guys had a nice Christmas. Eventually I'll have to weasel an invite to one of your shindigs. What have I got to do, marry a daughter?

Happy New Year to you and you and yours, Bob :)

Bob said...

I only have one daughter, Bob, and she's now spoken for. You have an open invitation!

Steve H. said...

Merry Christmas Bob! God Bless you and the family in 2015

quid said...

Loved your story and your pictures!

If I was on death row and it came to my last meal, I would choose Beer Cheese soup (shades of Minnie and Wisconsin!) and Sauerbraten.

Made my mouth water.

Happy new year!!!!!