Feb 20 2012

Christmas 2011

Posted by Jenelle in Life in New York / Leave a Comment

Oh I love love love that I am doing a Christmas post in February. Christmas in 2011 was awesome. We had the shopping aspect over very early so we were really able to enjoy the full season – but it was still super busy!

A long night was spent at Queen of All Saints doing the Christmas decorating. Decorating a church like ours is a big challenge and extremely physical – but the end result makes it all worth it!

Christmas at Queen of All Saints

Christmas at Queen of All Saints

Christmas at Queen of All Saints

My friend Michele is an awesome baker. Her cookies are absolutely amazing and she spent many nights baking Gingerbread Men and other treats in the Rectory kitchen for a cookie sale. We spent a night there wrapping them all and then we sold them all after the three weekend Masses. It was such a wonderful success! She hand decorated each one – you can see the detail here –

Cookie Sale

Bill snapped this photo of us at the cookie stall –

Christmas at Queen of All Saints

We managed to get our tree up straight after Thanksgiving which was great because I just love laying on the couch with the room all aglow from the Christmas lights –

Our Christmas Tree

We also decided to do a Christmas ‘portrait’ for our newsletter –

Our Christmas Portrait

Locally, here is how Brooklyn Borough Hall looked. Their tree was lovely –

I remember the first time I ever saw a Yule Log was in the movie Better of Dead when the Meyer family are sitting around opening their presents on Christmas Day. It really does exist. This scene plays 24/7 with Christmas music so everyone can feel like they have an open fireplace –

Yule Log

We headed up to Albany on Christmas Eve. This meant a lunch stop at Sonic in New Jersey. Cannot get enough of their Cherry Limeade. I first drank it in Amarillo in 2001 and I think this is seriously my favorite drink EVER EVER EVER –

Sonic Drive Thru

Here is what a Sonic Burger looks like –

Sonic Drive Thru

But their Tater Tots and Mozzarella Sticks are also awesome –

Sonic Drive Thru

Sonic Drive Thru

The best part of Sonic is the old fashioned drive thru service. You park your car in the space and order and get comfy –

Sonic Drive Thru

Then, out comes your food on roller blades!

Sonic Drive Thru

We got the most gorgeous view of the sunset in Albany from our hotel window –

Sunset in Albany

And then we headed over to the Johnson’s to open some presents, eat some dinner and marvel at their tree –

Johnson Family Christmas Tree

We then headed to Holy Spirit for Mass where we caught up with Steve and Colette and Steve’s family. I think this is definitely now a Christmas tradition to go to Mass altogether. Holy Spirit was very cute as well.. as you can see we got there early!

Christmas - Church of the Holy Spirit

We then got back to the hotel quite late and I stayed up following what was going on with the storms in Melbourne!

Christmas Day was lovely and relaxing. We all gathered at the Blevins Homestead for Christmas Brunch. It was so nice and we had the most awesome stacks of pancakes, fruits, eggs, bacon, bagels – a real feast and so nice having brunch! Then, we all headed back to the Johnson’s for more leftovers and more dinner and just sitting around relaxing. This was such a change to last year where everyone was sick and Christmas was basically cancelled!

Bill and I kept up with our own tradition of heading to Denny’s at midnight… it is the only place in Albany that is open and it was rocking… with some of the most annoying people in the Capital district. But, I still love it!

Our Christmas Tradition - Midnight at Denny's

We spent the next day doing some mall shopping with a necessary stop at LL Bean and spending the afternoon saying goodbye to everyone. Leaving Albany is always sad.. we did the rounds and headed out on the road late. The best thing about driving home is the service centers along the way… these are like mini shopping malls every 30 miles or so. We always stop at one for the fun of it!

I love how they even decorate the service centers for Christmas –

New York State Thruway Service Area/Rest Stop

There is always a long line at Starbucks –

New York State Thruway Service Area/Rest Stop

Bill realized he needed some replacement headphones… so of course we were able to buy these from the Best Buy vending machine –

New York State Thruway Service Area/Rest Stop

There is a good selection of rubbish food and the toilets are always so clean –

New York State Thruway Service Area/Rest Stop

You can even play a skill tester –

New York State Thruway Service Area/Rest Stop

Or pick up travel supplies –

New York State Thruway Service Area/Rest Stop

After getting stuck in a major traffic jam getting back into Manhattan, we got home, opened our door and saw our Christmas tree and nativity all exactly like we left them. Even though we were straight back to work the next day, Christmas kept going at home!