we had a lovely little christmas in england. we missed our families, but got to see our parents and every single brother, sister, niece and nephew virtually on christmas day! and we got to spend time with some really good friends over here across the pond.
on christmas eve, i prepared a middle eastern meal for our traditional “jerusalem supper,” and we inivited some friends from our church congregation (who were also far away from family) over to our little flat to celebrate with us. we didn’t make our guests dress up or get in character :) but we did have a really nice conversation about what it might have been like for mary and joseph before they left for bethlehem. we also read the christmas story from the new testament and sang some carols together. it was really wonderful!
^^ the meal turned out really well and i was proud, so i took some photos :) ^^
^^ i wore my fuzzy candy cane socks, and we had a chocolate nut yule log for dessert (it’s my third christmas making this recipe, and i’m obsessed! ^^
after our friends left, we walked around the corner to st. martin’s in the field for midnight mass. it was really, really neat. the music by the choir and organ was truly heavenly, the messages shared were beautiful, and singing carols together with wonderful, diverse people in that gorgeous church lit up in the dark of christmas eve night was just so awesome. we really felt filled up with the purest christmas spirit as we worshiped and gave thanks for the baby jesus.
on christmas morning, i let the boy sleep in as long as he wanted, but i was too excited to sleep too long with him! i baked while he slumbered, and then when he did wake up, we opened the stockings we had stuffed for each other on our bed. i opened our bedroom window a crack and the peeling bells of christmas morning, from churches all around, came pouring in. it was really, really magical. we moved into the sitting room and sat under the tree and opened gifts. don’t you love it when there’s just wrapping paper and happy feelings scattered everywhere?
then, i made our traditional eggs benedict christmas breakfast. except it was a little untraditional this year, because i learned that it is actually possible for someone to not like hollandaise sauce. crazy, but true – and the boy prefers his egg yolks and whites mixed instead of separate…so he got a unique twist on eggs benny, and will every christmas morning in the future :)
after breakfast (which also included lots of candy!), we went on a quick bike ride under the drizzly london sky in our christmas pjs. we rode bikes together last christmas morning (when the boy had given me a new bike!), so now that we’ve done this twice i’m declaring it an awesome christmas tradition! it was neat to be out on the streets of londontown on christmas – no buses were running, which gave the city a whole different feel. we biked to trafalgar square, down whitehall to big ben, across westminister bridge, and along the thames back home. i couldn’t stop wishing happy christmas to the folks we passed, and couldn’t wipe the huge smile off my face either.
we called an uber to take us out to epping to meet up with our dear friends amy and rob. it was really tricky figuring out how to get to their house because literally zero public transportation is available on christmas day in england. it’s kind of really cool that they shut everything down, but also makes things a bit complicated if you don’t have a car! we went through all kinds of options during the week leading up to christmas and settled on paying a preeeetty high fare for an uber ride. but it was toooootally worth it to get to spend time with amy and rob and their four darling daughters. they are the closest thing we have to family in england (i’ve known amy since the day i was born, and she has always been like a sister to me), and it was so, so great to be with them.
it was good to swap eating lots of this ^^ (our candy haul from stockings and gifts to each other) for this ^^ (the incredible traditional christmas dinner that amy and rob provided for their family, us, two sets of missionaries, and a couple of other friends)! the food was delicious and of course we had christmas crackers with crowns!
i’m so mad at myself for not taking a photo with amy and rob and their girls on christmas! so i lifted these photos from instagram haha! those gorgeous girls on christmas morning before we got to their house (they are seriously the best ever and we love them dearly) ^^ and us with amy and rob last january when we were in london for job interviews ^^
we feasted and played games and skyped families and ate treats at amy and rob’s – it was a perfect, relaxed christmas afternoon and evening. the boy and i brought dessert to share – a birthday cake for jesus! this is a tradition we want to start in our little family. i made chocolate peppermint cake and we lit candles, gathered everyone around to sing happy birthday, and all helped to blow the candles out. it was pretty fun, and the cake turned out to be super delicious!
we slept over at amy and rob’s, and went to a big boxing day breakfast with them the next morning. then, we headed back home to central london and had a really relaxed weekend together.
a lovely little christmas in england, indeed!