WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

Tag: christmas (Page 1 of 2)

Happy Holidays!

We wish you a merry christmas!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Wishing you & yours the happiest of holidays – filled with family, friends, and all your wonderful traditions.

We stuck around Calgary this year to spend Christmas with N’s family, & are celebrating with mine tomorrow evening. It gave us the opportunity to catch up with many friends who are in town this year, which has been just lovely. We’re in the midst of quite the cold snap, so I’ve been trying to take a page from the Danes & their lovely concept of hygge. We’ve been lighting candles more often, playing lots of games, & cozying up under blankets, our attempt at making the most of the frigid temperatures.

Thank you to all those of you who read this little blog from time to time. I am very grateful to everyone who stops by, letting me share a little bit of my life with you. It’s been a great year for me & I’m looking forward to even more adventure in 2018.

All the best for the new year!
Bisous,

A & N
xx

Our Holiday Traditions

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. The whole month of December is just one of the best, & I think that has a lot to do with how steeped in tradition it is. Everyone has their own slightly different way of prepping for Christmas, & I love hearing the different stories.

I like to wait until December 1 to get into Christmas mode. When I worked at Starbucks, we switched our displays over on November 1, & that always brought out the Grinch in me, so now I hold off until well after Remembrance Day. The only thing I do before then is take a family photo & order Christmas cards. We did this particularly early this year since N’s schedule was so crazy, but that gave me extra time to procrastinate on my cards (I’m still writing some this week! Ha!).

The first real Christmassy thing we like to do is decorate. I added another stocking to our mantle this year for Odin, & I can’t wait for him to figure out what those silly socks hanging from the fireplace mean. I’m a little surprised he hasn’t pulled his down yet – I wrapped up his little treats just this week!

Step one for decorating: Odin meets Rudolf.

Most of our Christmas decor is straight out of the 80s. I’ve inherited so many things from my parents, & although they’re a little on the tacky side sometimes, I actually love them. They’re all great memories from my childhood. I’m a sucker for something with a story behind it, & almost every single one has that. We even have some handmade wool tree & snowflake ornaments that my Nana made years ago.

He really wanted some of Nana’s tree decorations

Odin helping decorate

Waiting patiently

Next, I like to hit the Scouts Canada Christmas Tree lot. We’ve gotten a real Christmas Tree the last two years, & I don’t plan on stopping this tradition anytime soon, even if we aren’t always around for the holidays. A real tree makes the whole house smell like Christmas like nothing else can (except maybe mulled wine). They’re definitely more work, but I think they’re so worth it. My family almost always bought their trees from the Scouts lot. I love watching the kids get involved in the whole process and enjoy supporting our local Scouts, a program my brother & I both grew up with. We go to the 31st group’s lot at the Holy Cross Anglican Church on 19th Street NW.

Picking up our tree from the lot

Letting #TreeMcTreeface settle in

Pre-decor

Helpers

It wouldn’t be Christmas without at least a couple parties. This year, we kicked things off with my office holiday party. It’s always a lot of fun. We book a room at the hotel so we can thoroughly enjoy the night. It’s always filled with lots of wine & even more dancing.

L & I

After a few drinks

Coworker friends

My handsome date

My parents also always host a cocktail party. My mom puts out an awesome spread. It’s a great evening filled with the best people, lots of drinks, & some delicious appetizers. My mom always puts out the best spread. No one ever goes hungry at her house. We always stay overnight because another tradition kicks off early the next morning: the Banff Ski Trip.

Odin was ready to greet everyone

Mom’s awesome spread

Tree Substitute

SIL & Odin, two of the best

Mom, Sar, & I

The whole crew

Tequila!

Unfortunately, this year, it was insanely cold for our trip. Nonetheless, we got up, put on our gear, & drove to Lake Louise. A couple others from our group were planning to meet us in the afternoon. We purchased Louise Plus Cards, & headed up the mountain on the chair lift. A blustery – 41 greeted us at the summit, & we decided it wasn’t worth getting frostbite over & took advantage of their offer to issue us a snowcheque for anytime in the next year.

FIrst chair

Top of the Word: -41C

Instead, we headed into Banff for some lunch, followed by a dip in the hot tub at the hotel. We started the drinking festivities earlier than any other year, which made for a hilarious gift exchange before we headed out on the town.

Drinks at Park

Delicious cocktails instead of skiing

Hotel Time

11th Annual Ski Trip

Having a moment

Girls photo. Oops.

Aww

& that brings us to the final week before Christmas. We’ve got a few evenings with friends planned before the big weekend, but that’s about it for our pre-Christmas traditions.

How do you prepare for the holidays? Do you embrace the crazy December schedule, or do you like to hunker down?

Christmas 2015

DSC01975.JPGChristmas is all about traditions. I love learning of all the different ways families choose to celebrate. & I love my own family’s traditions.

Since getting married, we’ve spent one Christmas with my family followed by one with N’s. While we both enjoy spending the holidays with each other’s families, I think we’d both admit that our own traditions still rank the highest. It’s always a bit of a challenge when you both come from families that celebrate, but I think I’ve come to appreciate both more now that we each year is different.

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Sleepy Lucky

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That said, it’s hard to complain about either option. We get pretty spoiled by both sides! This year, we stayed in Calgary to celebrate Christmas Eve & Day with N’s side. We headed over to his parent’s house after I got off work in the afternoon & spent the next 24 hours eating (seafood chowder, lobster, turkey, & everything in between!), drinking, playing games, skating, & enjoying each other’s company.

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Boy & his dog

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Christmas Morning

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Bailey’s & Hot Chocolate

On Boxing Day, we woke up (a little later than we’d planned) & headed out to BC to visit with my family. We skied a half day at Panorama before heading out to my parents place near Fairmont Hot Springs.

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N & I all bundled up!

 

 

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Darth Brother & I

The next few days were filled with more food, more drinks, more games… Dad & I went for a short run, but for the most part, we relaxed & enjoyed the slower lake pace. I love getting out to the mountains this time of year – it feels especially festive. We even managed to fit in a quick visit with a girlfriend in Invermere before making our way back to the city.

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Dad & I being goofs

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Penguin Races

Our holiday traditions differ from year to year right now, but one thing remains constant – the love that surrounds us. I hope that remains the focal point for many years to come, whether we celebrate with our individual families or create our own new hybrid traditions.

Merry Christmas!

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Wishing you a very Merry Christmas – filled with family, friends, and all your wonderful Christmas traditions.

Thank you to all those of you who read this little blog from time to time. I am very grateful to all of those who stop by, letting me share a little bit of my life with you. It’s been a great year of blogging (& life!) for me & I’m looking forward to an even better 2016.

All the best for the new year!
Bisous,

A & N
xx

’tis the season!

Christmas Tree

Our Christmas festivities started pretty early this year with the market & really haven’t let up all month. We’ve kept ourselves busy this December – so much so that I can hardly believe Christmas is pretty much already here. N is off until early January & my office is pretty quiet. I’m certain these last couple days will fly by.

In early December we picked up a tree from Scouts Canada. I insisted on a real one. I think they’re so special! &, of course, I wanted the first Christmas in our new house to be memorable. My parents have had several different colour schemes over the years so we inherited quite a few decorations. We really only had to pick up lights & some plain felt stockings to personalize (I love personalized stockings!). With the few extras we’ve received as gifts, we’re set up with a pretty good Christmas  collection.

We got him from a Scouts Canada lot, which was a great experience all around. He’s a beautiful tree, & almost a month after purchase, he still looks great! I’d highly recommend them if you’re looking next year. We named him Carlos (#CarlosChristmasTree).

Carlos Christmas Tree

Carlos looking just lovely!

The eggnog was flowing all month as we decorated, made Christmas crafts, watched our favourite movies, & celebrated with friends & family. Is there ever a bad reason to drink eggnog? (or your favourite holiday beverage – I’m also partial to mulled wine!) I’m hoping all the running I’ve been doing balances it out!

Eggnog

Eggnog + the Tree

Christmas Crafts

Ready to Craft!

Love Actually and Crafts

Love Actually + Crafts

I think it all turned out pretty great. I love our tree the best (we’ve added a few more decorations that my mom found since these photos were taken), but overall I’m quite happy with how everything turned out. Of course, I’m already thinking about fixing up the white letters on our stockings so they’re easier to read. Aside from that little detail, it looks pretty sweet. As I’m coming up the street, I can catch a glimpse of Carlos all lit up in our front window. It’s one of my favourite parts of the day!

Fireplace

Christmas Stockings

Poor planning with those glittery white letters…

Christmas Tree

I can’t wait to finish up work this week & spend a few days with N’s family & then mine. I’ve got a couple more gifts to organize & pick up, but I’m mostly ready to go!

Hope you’ve had a fantastic December. Are you ready for the holidays? What’s your favourite way to prepare?

The Christmas Market

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Last year, I didn’t get into the Christmas spirit until the holidays had more or less arrived. I always feel like things ramp up too early & it’s easy to get carried away about Christmas far too early. I was a real scrooge about it last year though, honestly. I’ll never be the first in line for my red cup on November 1, but I’m trying to find a middle ground.

When my girlfriend, Laische, suggested we check out the International Christmas Market at Spruce Meadows, I figured it was the perfect way to kick off the Holiday Season. It being our first Christmas in our new house, I’m excited to decorate. My Holiday wish list includes a wreath, some little white lights, a REAL tree, & a few simple items for the mantle.

We arrived at the market in the late afternoon, after a slow Sunday morning. It was quite busy, but we were lucky enough to find parking close to the entrance, due in part to our missing the sign for the further parking lots. Entrance will set you back $12 at the door, but I would recommend buying tickets online as you’ll save yourself a couple bucks.

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The coolest thing about this market is that they have real, live reindeer. REAL LIVE REINDEER. I mean, it’s worth the entrance fee just to go see them! You can also get family photos done, which I think is way better than a photo with Santa. Rudolph is the star for me anyway. L & I were so tempted to get them done. Next year I’m definitely going to try & convince N to come down with me for a reindeer photo.

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Mulled wine, gluhwein, vin chaud -whatever you call it, it tastes like Christmas. Nothing says Noel to me like wandering the market with a warm cup of vin chaud. It was my favourite part about spending the holidays in Europe. I was always eager to see the Christmas Markets pop up in squares around town – it marked the beginning of the holiday season & I’ve since found it difficult to find an equivalent in Canada. Not only do those markets have the best food, but there’s something magical about a snowy walk with a warm festive drink to get me in the mood for Christmas. When I saw gluhwein on the menu at Spruce Meadows, I knew I had to get some. It certainly worked its magic on me.

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L & I were both looking for Christmas decorations, but we got a little overwhelmed by everything. There was SO much! Hopefully I can find some stuff elsewhere in the next few weeks now that I’ve had a chance to look around & figure out what we might want.

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The market is open again next weekend & I’d definitely recommend checking it out. Do you have any traditions that make you feel ready for the Holidays?

Noel, Noel

Is it possible to be homesick for a place that isn’t really home? With Christmas around the corner, I certainly feel that way. While I love many of our traditions here at home, there are many things I miss about this time I year abroad too.

I find my feelings of nostalgia are especially strong in December as I reminisce about the Christmas Markets this time of year. While most people tend to plan their trips in the summer months, I find there’s something particularly special about Christmas in France (& England). The cities are so festive, filled with lights & decorations. It’s hard not to get caught up in it.

That’s not to say that we don’t get into the Christmas Spirit in Canada – we certainly do. & I love heading out to the mountains to celebrate this holiday with family & friends. I just can’t shake the feeling that we’re missing this wonderful part of Christmas in Europe: the Market.

We have Christmas Markets & I’ve been to a few that I’ve enjoyed, but a Christmas Market in Europe is a thing to experience. I loved wandering my neighbourhood one in the evenings. Amongst the typical homemade gifts you see in most markets, you’ll also find delicious food & wonderful drinks. My favourite market treat is raclette with a side of vin chaud (mulled wine), of course. The raclette tartine or tartiflette are also great choices. You really can’t go wrong with warm, melted cheese. A European Christmas Market is the perfect place to meet up with friends or wander yourself. & with most of these markets in the city center, they’re easily accessible.

Raclette Tartine: baguette, raclette cheese, & charcuterie. Perfect!

The daily morning market is still my very favourite, but the daily Christmas market is a close second. Europe is beautiful any time of year, of course, but I especially love the cooler months. Don’t let the fact that it’s a less popular time to travel deter you – it truly has its own merits. It’s less busy & if you go in November, you’ll get to experience the beginning of the Christmas season. You may not be sitting on a beach this time of year, but you can certainly brag about the warmer temperatures to your friends back home (if you’re Canadian at least)!

Most of my photos here are pre-DSLR days, so don’t let the grainy low light shots deter you. I hope the beauty of the French Christmas Market still shines through. I have such fond memories of them.

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The new year is in full swing. We’re back at work & I’m finally getting back into our routines. Even though I had plenty of time to edit photos last week, they sat on my camera until tonight when I realized it was about time I posted about Christmas!

I don’t have a whole lot to say. We had a lovely Christmas; we got crazy spoiled as always. N & I spent Christmas Eve until Boxing Day at hiss parents house this year: eating everything from lobster & chowder to turkey & stuffing. We went skating, taught his siblings a new board game, & watched lots of movies.

After N finished work on Boxing Day we loaded up the car & headed out to Columbia Valley. We stayed overnight with a friend of mine in Invermere so we could ski Panorama in the morning. I always enjoy staying in Invermere overnight; the drive up to Panorama is so quick. Not to mention we were served a lovely breakfast & coffee before hitting the slopes. My girlfriend has this great new place near the lake & we weren’t in a huge rush to get up the mountain so we took our time catching up over eggs, bacon, & hashbrowns.

The skiing itself was pretty good – nothing spectacular, but nothing to complain about for December either. That night we headed out to my parents’ place further down the valley. My dad make his incredible pizza & we exchanged gifts with my family. The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying the country: skating, relaxing, reading, & enjoying each other’s company.

It was great to spend time with each of our families & get away from the city for a bit. It always feels like a bit of a holiday even if it’s just for a couple days.

Happy New Year all!

December in Instagram

It’s been a bit of a slower month for blog posts, but I think overall I’ve been more consistent than ever before. It wasn’t a real resolution to post more, but I did mention that it was a goal for this year and I think I can successfully check that one off. My other resolutions were a little more hit or mess, but I’ll talk about that more when I make this years’.

Like all years, this one has its ups and downs. When I think back though, there were so many great moments. It’s hard to trump our engagement, but we also made some great memories in the states, spent lots of time out at the lake and in the mountains, and ate our way around the city. I can’t complain. Thanks, 2013. I think 2014 should be a pretty great year too. We’re off to Mexico at the end of January, we’re getting married this summer, and we’ve got plans for a pretty fantastic honeymoon. I hope you all can look back on 2013 with a smile and I wish you all the joy and happiness for this brand new year. Here’s a little recap of what December looked like for us.

1. N participated in Movember again this year. It was his best mustache showing to date, but he still looked like a bit of a creep at the end.
2. N’s family dog, Lucky, celebrated his 15th birthday. They let him lick the icing off a cupcake. When you’re 105, you get to do whatever you want.
3. KC & I at the hockey game. It was me & the boys that night. Things got rowdy, as all hockey games should.
4. Fitness at work continued. We did a squat challenge this month & sometimes these types of ridiculous outfits make an appearance. Always need to be prepared for squats.
5. My company Christmas party was a blast. We had the best time and took a lot of great photobooth photos.
6. The snow this December has been pretty great so far. We spent the weekend before Christmas in Banff- skiing, drinking, snowshoeing, and hitting the hot springs.
7. We stayed in Calgary for Christmas this year and spent the holidays with N’s family at their house. His mom’s fireplace is just adorable.
8. Skating on Christmas Day with family and friends.
9. We skied Panorama after Christmas and then headed out to spend some time with my family in the Columbia Valley. It was beautiful!

See you in 2014, blog friends! Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas

Christmas has arrived! We’re working out last few hours before packing it in for a few days. N & I are spending Christmas with his family this year & then heading out to the Columbia Valley to spend the weekend with my family. It promises to be a wonderful week filled with family, friends, and food! Sounds more or less perfect to me!

I just wanted to take a minute to wish all those of you who read this little blog from time to time a very Merry Christmas – filled with family, friends, and all your wonderful Christmas traditions. I am very grateful to all of those who stop by, letting me share a little bit of my life with you. It’s been a great year of blogging for me & I’m looking forward to an even better 2014.

Meilleurs vœux pour un Noël plein de joies et une nouvelle année remplie de bonheur,

A & N
xx


(PS. Just some of my favourite silly photos from my work’s Christmas Party. I have great friends & coworkers!)

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