Like any good Member of the Tribe, Christmas to me has always meant one thing- Chinese food and a movie. For the past 7 years, that movie has been the same- Love Actually. It does not matter what else is going on in my life that day, I must watch it. Otherwise, it's just not Christmas without it. Since most places, including Chinese restaurants, are closed in Germany on Christmas, I decided to go with a frozen PF Changs meal.
In Russian culture, New Year is the day that Santa Claus comes and leaves you presents under a tree. It is a very secular holiday and is pretty much the biggest day of the year. When I was growing up, we always had a beautifully decorated tree. My mother has gorgeous ornaments from the Czech Republic and when I moved, she only let me take one with me, a little yellow glass ornament in the shape of a rubber duckie. In my family, we always put the tree up on December 26th, so as not to associate it with Christmas in any way. Today, TLS and I went to pick out a tree. We got a cute little potted 3.5 footer. Yea, it's been a bit disastrous here. This was the first year since I was 7 that we have had a real tree (no matter how much I begged and pleaded my mother refused to buy real trees and just stuck to the kind that comes from a box). I completely forgot how much they 1) hurt, and 2) shed. Needless to say, we don't have a tree skirt. We found an old sheet that we put around the bottom for now and have learned our lesson for next year, I am now on the hunt for the perfect tree skirt. For this year, thankfully a few of my friends in Germany have already taken down their decorations and a friend is lending me her skirt so Charlie, our tree, can look a bit more festive and dignified.
Throughout the year, we had been periodically buying ornaments one by one to start up a collection so that when New Year rolled around, we'd have a whole bunch . It seemed like a really great and well thought out idea except for the fact that we overestimated how many ornaments we actually bought and despite buying the smallest tree we saw, we ended up with too much tree and not enough ornaments. (Ironically enough, every year at my mother's house, it was in reverse. The tree seemed to get smaller and smaller while the ornaments got bigger and bigger.) Needless to say, the tree is looking a bit Charlie Brown-ish. (Hence the name Charlie.) The ornaments that we do have on it now are gorgeous, but we are going to get a few more "filler" ornaments and some lights to make it look like a respectable tree. I will save posting tree pictures for a day when it is fully dressed up and happy. For now, I will leave you with a picture of our other tree- a friend saw this in a store in the States and got it for us as a Hannukah gift.