Life in Poland

Christmas? What Christmas?

We’re back to work and school and we’ve already forgotten about our Christmas break. It’s time to start planning summer vacation, I think.

We spent our Christmas unplugged as I mentioned before and I heeded the warnings about unexpected happenings 9 months after a rustic Christmas. Funnily enough, we did have one evening without power, but it was due to our neighbor’s barn burning to the ground so it was just too much excitement for one night.

I suppose our Christmas was a success. I was a little worried about the tree. We waited to the Friday before Christmas to buy it and I was worried that they’d be all out of good trees. I was wrong. They had plenty of good and expensive trees and plenty of cheap and horrible trees. What was missing was the “good enough” trees – those were all sold out. So car packed to the brim, tree strapped to the top of the car, we were off for the village with Christmas spirit in our hearts. Our neighbor must have also had Christmas spirit in her heart because as we were leaving the Christmas tree place, she called and asked if we’d like her to go to our house and turn up the heat (she has an emergency key). She also opened our driveway gate for us which was very thoughtful. (Just a note, this is not the neighbor who comes to our garden without permission. That’s another person entirely.)

So we arrived to a warm house, unpacked, put up the tree and began decorating. We had cleaned the house top to bottom the week before. It was a relief to just start decorating, cooking, baking and enjoying our time together. But wait, I had forgotten about one thing…our new front (well, back door, ok entrance door, we’ve got one door and it’s in the back) was to be installed the next day. Piece of cake. You pop out the old, poorly-fitting original German door and pop in the new, super-duper “Produkt Polski” door. Except for one problem, those Germans really knew what they were doing when they installed that door. As we found out, the frame was severely bolted in with long, metal rods. It took the men 7 and a half hours to install the new door – 4 and half of those hours spent  removing the original door. And all that time, we were without a door, the heating system was pumping and dust was traveling all over my beautifully clean, Christmas-decorated home. Oh well, we have the new door and it is much, much warmer at home now without a 3 cm gap at the bottom and a 1/2 cm gap at the top. Yippee!

After a quick clean up, we stood around and admired our door for awhile and I was so impressed with my door that I didn’t even remember to take a photo. Maybe next time. I was also so busy that I forgot to hang mistletoe this year. But I suppose that after the dismal reception from last year (dismal reception=long time spent under mistletoe, no kisses), it was really unnecessary. With or without mistletoe, I did not receive more than my regular kiss allotment.

One surprise hit of the Christmas break was the lard-based bird feed that we hung from a tree outside the girls’ room. It provided lots of entertainment until it eventually fell down and was taken away by some animal. I highly recommend such forms of entertainment.

Another hit of the Christmas break was the box set of DVD’s which I bought for Misiu as a Christmas/13th wedding anniversary gift. First, I had a bit of a problem finding that set. I went to Empik to the section called BOKSY (or was it BOXY?) but I didn’t know the Polish title of the DVD’s that I wanted and the sets are in alphabetical order. After some searching I found it – “Keeping Up Appearances” or “Co ludzie powiedzą?” in Polish with the famous Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced “bouquet”, of course) and her sisters, Daisy and Rose.

Love it!

After the door was installed, installers paid and gone, mess cleaned up and house decorated, we began to cook and bake. All cakes, cookies and kutia were made by me as well as Christmas Eve dinner. We only ordered pierogi from a bakery and we were ready to go. Our Christmas Eve supper was peaceful as always because our kids don’t get presents on Christmas Eve as they do in most Polish families. Our kids receive their presents “po amerykańsku” in the morning of Christmas Day. One problem was that the presents were hidden in the house, unwrapped. After the girls fell asleep I was the mad wrapper until about 1:00 a.m. Then I had to sneak all the presents into their room which is where we put the tree again this year. Overall, putting the Christmas tree in the kids’ room has its advantages. It means that the Christmas mess with toys and paper and Lego pieces stays in the one room. However, you have to be very quiet and crafty when you put the presents under the tree. You must be careful not to crinkle the paper or stub your toe. I managed without crinkling or stubbing but still Rosie claimed that the presents come from parents and not Santa Claus. No comment.

We also had carolers this year too. Ok, they muddied up the hall and kitchen but their show was well-prepared and well-rehearsed. They we very deserving of the 15 or 20 zloty they got from our house.

This year we didn’t return to work between Christmas and New Year so we had free, free, free time! We visited Misiu’s sisters and nieces and nephews and their families and we even ran into some old friends (I mean the friendship is old, not the friends) we hadn’t seen for awhile. Shout out to Łódź. New Year’s Eve we spent at home with the kids watching Maryla dance Gangnum Style direct from Wrocław. We also kept an eye on our neighbor’s house during the intoxicated backyard fireworks displays. You’d think a barn burning a few days earlier would put a damper on backyard fireworks displays, but we were wrong.

So that’s all for our Christmas. We are desperately looking forward to all weekends and days off in the near (and far) future.

Hope you had a good Christmas break and that 2013 will be a successful year.SDC13491

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  • Reply
    January 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    You had a very Merry Christmas, indeed. You are still in a good mood, see?Hyacinth is my favourite one too, love the English sense of humour, love her next door clumsy neighbour with the unsocial brother, but my best one is Onslow, love him to bits!

  • Reply
    Lois B
    January 8, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Your placing presents under the tree reminds me of filling stockings at 3 AM, very stressful indeed, every little movement sound so loud! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    czar- I guess you are right, about my mood. It's probably from all the poppyseed products I ate. Now we just have to survive to the school's winter break. That reminds me that today I was served coffee in a very fine cup and saucer. I felt like Hyacinth's neighbor.Lois – I must admit that I even snapped a few pictures of the girls asleep in their beds while I was putting the presents under the tree. I know that they will be grown up before I know it and I want to cherish these moments. You know, I never caught my parents putting the presents under the tree, even in the years when I knew it was them and tried to catch them. How'd they do that?

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