Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: lights of Christmas Eve

lights of Christmas Eve


As I've written before, Christmas Eve is our big night, a tradition with both the Finns and the Germans, with a lovely meal, carols around the piano, and then Santa's visit. This year at our eldest daughter's place, we missed having some bright-eyed and excited little children to add to the excitement. Richard, with a nod to the Finnish tradition, made a delicious meal of ham and vegetables.


Another family tradition of ours is to go out afterwards to see a local park's Christmas lights while awaiting Santa. This time it was the BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops for its Wildlights and a jolly miniature train ride. It was too dark to see the wild animals that are rehabilitated there but we enjoyed the light displays, glad for the mild dry evening (while Vancouver was having a terrific rainstorm).


Back at the house, we enjoyed Christmas songs by Anita and Erika to the accompaniment of the guitar by Erika. We exchanged and opened gifts then enjoyed my contribution of a trifle for dessert, made with my own green tomato mincemeat.

How do you usually celebrate Christmas Eve? I remember one Eve years ago before we had a family which we had spent with friends then living in Fort Nelson in northeast BC. We joined them for a beautiful midnight Mass at their church on a very crisp and cold night with the stars bright in the sky.

Marja-Leena | 29/12/2010 | 6 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Culture


Christmas is very much a family celebration, which it is difficult to make jolly if one is part of a disfunctional family. The family unit of my husband and myself have always looked upon this time of year as one of hibernation and renewal. Christmas days encompass the hibernation, reading generally, and New Year sets off the discussions about how we each want to go forward.

Christmas Eve is the day when we set up the tree with decorations and lights, and I put up the cards round greenery which I have brought in from the garden. We try to keep away from any crowds, and before my mother came to live with us we would go for long walks. Often on milder years we would take a picnic of pork pies and brussel sprout soup to the seaside on Christmas Day itself.

This year it was a relief just to be able to find some time to read in between my mother's bouts of hysteria. At this time of year we often feel that we are on a parallel planet - and this year especially so! On the other hand, we are not suffering floods, earthquakes, famine, nor pestilence.

We are cosy and have each other and a pile of books - what more would we want! Happy New Year!

Since there are no children in the family, the 24th is all about spending time together and eating good food. This year we had the happiest surprise when after years of searching to no avail, I stumbled across a store here that sells authentic Frankfurter Würstchen! They were delicious prepared as we are used to doing with salt potatoes and dark bread. A jar of German mustard was on the table, too.

I love the alligator!

This Christmas Jerry and I spent with my dear cousin Jocelyn and her husband Albert. Just the four of us. It was very low key in the New Zealand warm summertime. Jocelyn and I cooked dinner, chicken with gravy and veges and pavlova for dessert. Pavlova is a New Zealand invention -- don't let anyone tell you it's from Australia. It is a lovely meringue, crisp on the outside and soft and marshmallowy on the inside, with whipped cream and strawberries and other fruit. Yum.

Olga, I'm sorry that your mother's health has made Christmas more difficult, yet pleased for you that you manage to take pleasure in the quiet times. Thank you for sharing, and I wish you and your husband a Happy New Year.

I forgot to mention that this was the first year in two or more decades that I've not "done" Christmas at home so it was very relaxing!

Rouchswalwe, your German Christmas Eve dinner sounds very tasty! I've certainly enjoyed those foods at other times.

Anne, your Christmas sounds wonderful though strange to me to have it in a warm climate. Our good friends are from NZ and we've enjoyed her pavlova many times, yum indeed!

Joe, thanks and the same to you and Heidi!