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Christmas Joy is to be shared with family ..

Updated: Jan 2

Hey, you! 😊

On Christmas Eve day, my family and I travelled to my sister's to celebrate Christmas with them. Per tradition, we celebrate with them every other year since we've been in France. The other years, we either travel or spend it at home just the 3 of us. My in-laws all live abroad so it's always a bit difficult to celebrate this time of the year with them. One year, we did travel to Qatar to celebrate with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law who were both based there at the time. My father-in-law also travelled to Qatar from the Philippines that year and this was the last time we celebrated Christmas together before his passing.

Anyways ..

Our hands were full on the day we travelled to my sister's. Full with our suitcases, Bogart the Pug and his things, the special cheese platter, and the gifts! Especially my little niece's. I was so excited because I had found the perfect gift for her, but I didn't think of the logistics of it. But hey, we made it to the train station, even if the rain was pouring over our heads on our way there.

So excited to go to the countryside!

My sister was waiting for us at the train station when we arrived. She has lost so many people in her lives this year. A nephew, a cousin, and her uncle. So when we talked on the phone a few weeks earlier, I could hear in her voice asking, almost pleading, that I stay a few days with her. My husband had to leave on Christmas day because he had to work on the 26th, but she asked if I could stay a few more days after, which I was happy to.

I talked about it in this post / podcast (click here for the post), but celebrating Christmas in France is very different from the way I am used to back in the Philippines. Don't get me wrong - it's different but I love it too. And I think it's because of the fact that however different it is, one thing is the same - it both centers on family.

My sister went all out for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. She prepared soooooo much delicious food!

On Christmas Eve, we had:

Smoked Salmon Toasts

Fresh Oysters

Plateau de Fruits de Mer (traditional seafood platter)

Steamed Pike Fish with Homemade Mayonnaise and Aioli

French Cheese Platter (we brought this from Metz - it was such a fun experience!)

Buche de Noel (Yule Log Cake)

It was a very traditional French Christmas sit-down meal. My sister is a bit stomach sensitive so she doesn't mix meat and seafood in one meal. So this year she opted for fish and seafood for Christmas Eve dinner and then meat for Christmas Day lunch.

Everything was delicious, but at the same time "light" which is good. I personally hate losing sleep because of a full stomach. Nowadays, I sometimes have acid reflux which is no fun.

At around 11pm, Santa Claus came over to bring the kids their gifts. We went with half of the gifts on Christmas Eve and the other half under the Christmas tree the next day (for the super big ones). As you can imagine the kids were over the moon with their gifts. The adults also exchanged theirs. I am quite proud of the gifts we gave. Hahaha. I'll make sure to share a post about them and the gifts we received as well. It might give you an idea for any birthdays and celebrations coming this year. I don't know about you, but I love seeing Christmas gift posts!

A little after 1am, we went to bed excited for the next day's festivities. I don't know who was more excited to open the gifts under the Christmas tree - the kids or us? Hahaha First thing we did after waking up was go to my niece's house, which is just a few steps away from my sister's to help the children open their gifts. As an adult, I've realized that Christmas is magical through the eyes of a child and I love that. So much so that we ended up spending the whole morning setting up their new toys. Thankfully, I came prepared with batteries for our gifts, but we didn't have a certain battery for my little nephew's racing car track toy and he was a bit upset. I've always wondered why batteries are not included or at least sold with the toy! Stores should think about that - that would be a great selling point!

We came back to my sister's just in time to find out that she had just finished preparing lunch. Oops! I was pretty excited for lunch because my nephew and his life partner were joining us. We don't spend as much time as I would love to with them during the year unfortunately, so this was great. He's the sweetest. He was sitting beside me and serving me food and drinks the whole meal.

Here's what we had for Christmas lunch:

-Foie Gras

-Escargots (Snails)

-Duck a l'Orange

-Mashed Potatoes

-Cheese Platter and Green Salad

-Buche de Noel (Yule Log Cake)

Again, this was an amazing meal! My sister did such a good job and absolutely spoiled us. Then we exchanged gifts with my nephew and his partner and spent the afternoon playing board games. We had so much fun playing Le Lynx. Family is everything and I feel truly blessed to be able to do this with them. We don't get a lot of moments like these so these are truly cherished.

Not too long after, it was time for my husband to take his train home. I wish he could have stayed with us, but you know how it is when you work in the medical field. They are always needed. I'm just grateful that we were together for Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Day.

As I mentioned, I stayed a few more days at my sister's. She had friends over for lunch and dinner and close friends of mine even came for lunch one day! We were always about 10-12 people at every meal. I don't know how my sister gets the energy to do all of this. We tried to help her, but she carried most of the weight. She is an amazing woman and has such a big heart. She isn't my half-sister - she's my sister, period. And I love her. ❤️❤️

But as they say, all good things must come to an end. It was time for my daughter S and I to come home. She'll be back to the countryside in a couple of weeks, but I don't know when I'll be back. Not too long, I hope. But you know how life goes - it gets busy!

Christmas 2024 will be, fingers crossed, celebrated in the Philippines. It's important for us to share that with our daughter too. But that's one year from now, so who knows what will happen between now and then, right?

I wholeheartedly hope you had a wonderful Christmas holiday. ❤️❤️

What do you usually eat for Christmas? 🎄

xoxo Elodie

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