December was surprisingly calm chez Exacting!
I always attempt to do “just enough” for Dec 24-Jan 1 so that it feels festive but not frantic. This was the first year (in 4) that Link didn’t come home for Christmas. But Link was celebrating in Toronto with 3 friends and had loads of activities, so I felt good knowing they’d have a good holiday season there. It was different for me not to be preparing for their extended visit over the holidays, and strange to have so much extra time, but I did not dislike it or feel sad. Of course, Link’s upcoming visit in two weeks time has a lot to do with it!
I started gift shopping on Nov 30 and finished up on Dec 21. I liked that it was “contained” and didn’t encroach on the rest of the year (although I always pick up a few trinkets for others on my travels). It was a novelty to send Link’s in the mail! Unlike last year, I wasn’t inundated with potluck parties for various committees. I had two low-key work events which I enjoyed. The UU church has its annual Solstice service which is a long tradition in our family. With no scheduled concerts or activities, Rom and I spent the remainder of the year’s entertainment budget on meals out. We normally go to a favourite spot for lunch on the 24th with Link, and decided not to go there with just us two, and tried out a new Persian restaurant instead. Another day we went to a super-deluxe holiday brunch buffet (for locals: at the Prince George Hotel). We debated whether to go for a small or artificial Christmas tree, but decided to do the usual: a seven-foot real tree, and had no regrets. The cats didn’t bother with it this year. At 8, they must be getting old! We made one shortcut, putting electric candles in the windows instead of hanging the star-shaped outdoor lights.
My family is close by and my parents do Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner at their place. We would not do the same on our own at home, so we’re thrilled to be able to just “go along” instead of creating it ourselves. Mom is a champ and makes all the old-time favourites: Acadian rabbit pie for Christmas Eve (no, I do not eat it, I bring veggie lasagna!), mince tarts, dark and light fruit cakes, gingerbread and shortbread, and Christmas/plum pudding with rum sauce. She has even added Brussels sprouts to the Christmas dinner for Rom, and we all like them now! At our own house, I made lasagna, split pea soup, and chick pea curry, and we alternated them for as long as they lasted. I didn’t bake anything, so Turtles (chocolates) and salted caramels had to suffice 🙂
It was a very green Christmas with fog and rain, but this past week we made up for it, and I have a start on my #snowmuscles once again! I had 5 days off at Christmas and 4 this weekend for New Year’s, all of which I needed to get over a long-lasting cold. I am finally seeing the last of it.
Mid-December I went for a “financial check-up” at my bank and made all kinds of improvements to reduce fees and invest better. I’ll post about that soon.
Finally, I could not end the year without adding another piece of technology to the house 😦 I had a home theatre system which was high-end when I bought it 13 years ago, but is lacking by today’s standards: no wireless connectivity, visible wires all over the house, and no HDMI. So I replaced it with a sound bar. I subscribed to Apple Music this year and now I can stream it. I am a bit of an audiophile, and the new system has more of a “popular” sound mix, but it is above average, and I can still listen to music through Rom’s reference speakers when ultimate quality counts. If anyone out there is looking for a sound bar, I can email you the details.
This week marks 4 years of blogging at An Exacting Life. A sincere thanks to everyone who has followed along. I am not promising to blog more, or update or improve anything, but you can count on me to still be here in the year ahead. I love this place and the camaraderie you bring. Happy 2016!
P.S. Of course, like everyone else we re-watched the original Star Wars movies in preparation for seeing the new one!
It sounds a very lovely and balanced Christmas and New Year. I love your tree each year and am glad you posted a picture! I can see you have adopted the ‘no tinsel’ approach – I like it. I am glad that you had some time off to recover from the cold and to enjoy the rest of the entertainment budget. Hopefully, it will feel like two holiday stretches with Link arriving soon!
Hi Fiona, aah, we distinguish between tinsel and garlands, but we have neither! (Wikipedia tells me that our version of tinsel is properly called lametta, a word I have never heard before, and that our “garlands” are what other people know as tinsel!) They seem to have fallen out of fashion but I am sure they’ll be back. As of today I am finally feeling recovered from my cold. Already prepping for Link’s visit!
Happy new year Dar and thank you for blogging and keeping me inspired. I like your balanced approach to Christmas and blogging! We’ve subscribed to Apple music too and it’s great although we occasionally enjoy a listen to vinyl on our son’s turntable. Enjoy 2016 and Link’s visit x
Hi Claire! Hope you had a happy New Year’s Eve. We hauled out a turntable this year, too! I confess we both still own a substantial bit of old vinyl. I hope you keep on doing what you do in 2016 because it really looks like it’s working 🙂
Happy new year to you, Rom and the fur faces and congrats on reaching the 4 year mark!
Thank you, Kris! Wishing you peace and well-being in the coming year.
Happy New Year! 🙂 Sounds like a wonderful December! Your tree is lovely. Monkey is still too young (a year old) to be trusted around a Christmas tree so we skipped it this year and just put up a tiny artificial tree for a few hours so we could take some festive 1st Christmas photos with baby.
Looking forward to hearing more about your financial check up!
That is smart of you, Amanda. I will never forget when my cousin’s 10 month old baby grabbed a glass ball ornament off her Christmas tree and BIT INTO IT! (She wasn’t hurt but there were slivers of glass everywhere). Happy 2016!
I love your real tree. We don’t get beautiful real trees like that. Our real ones are sparce. Radiata pines, I think.
It looked very warm in your 4pm photo. Lovely, but warm. If I ever make it to Canada for Christmas, I want a white Christmas guaranteed. OK?
Is rabbit pie a traditional dish or just for your family?
Enjoy Link’s visit!
Have just discovered your blog (got drawn into the fabulous grocery posts – I’m a data/numbers junkie) & love your description of the holidays. We streamlined significantly this year, and I’ve never enjoyed a holiday more. So relaxing & enjoyable, instead of focusing on a big production.
My husband is Persian & he sometimes makes a big feast (kebabs, rice, yogurt, etc) & it’s amazing. We’ve been discussing taking the kids to a Persian restaurant sometime soon, so they can experience all of the yummy cuisine.
Hello HP! At the Persian place we had kookoo sabzi (and of course hummus, breads and salads) – yum. I am glad you enjoyed the holidays!
Happy New Year to you and Rom! 🙂
Thank you – happy 2016, AP!
Hi Dar – it sounds like you had a good Xmas despite Link not being at home. I love all the traditions of Christmas especially the little ones that are evolved in families over the years. Who wouldn’t like Sprouts they are definitely a tradition over here! Have a great 2016. Viv x
Sounds like you had a great Christmas, minus the cold. I like your Christmas pictures. The views are beautiful. I had to google the rabbit pie to see if it looks like I thought it would. Given my love of pastry, I would try it.
P.S. I really like your colourful cheese knives.
I really did enjoy the festivities. The cheese knives were a cute gift from the UK!
Wow, 4 years blogging. I’m in awe. Glad to hear you’re not planning major changes, revamps, upgrades, just mor of the same. Lovely.
Happy new year!
Thank you, Deborah!
Forgot to say happy anniversary.