This being our first Christmas away from home, I really wanted to make sure it was special. Mainly, I wanted to stay to busy to think about not being home in Idaho. So I insisted that we escape to a winter cabin for a few days, so we could sit around and do nothing in a snowy cabin with a sauna instead of just in our apartment -because then it would just be like a standard Saturday.

Our Little Cabin. The sun rose at approx 10am and set around 230pm

We left Helsinki in the middle of a heavy snow storm on Monday evening and arrived at our destination outside of Kotka, Finland approximately 2 hours later.

The rest of the 3.5 days were spent in a rigorous routine of late mornings, full breakfasts during Christmas movies, sessions in the sauna, snacking while watching more movies or doing dot-to-dot puzzles, playing trivia games on our phones, and cooking dinner.

It was really rough.

On Christmas eve, we had a spread of smoked salmon, garlic mussels, cheeses and meat, veggies, cookies. This is what my family traditionally does as we open our gifts.
Yes, we open gifts on Christmas Eve. One by one. Dad picks up a gift, reads out the tag, and we all watch each person open each gift. I love it. It is a whole ceremony that starts around 5pm and runs into the night, with plenty of refill and cookie breaks.
But I conceded to open in the morning just this once. But I did get to Skype with my family and watch my darling nephew open up his first present (his first riding tractor! Thanks Grandpa!) and I opened one from the family.

Then on Christmas morning, we opened our small pile of gifts- mainly for me because Jimmy’s are still on the way- and made a delicious potato hash with our mimosas.
After presents, we cleaned up to take some “family photos” while we still had some light, and so we could spend the rest of our day in the sauna, watching movies, and skyping with the rest of the families.

For a Christmas feast, we ate veal steaks basted with butter and a mushroom-brandy sautee, marinated crab pieces, green beans, and bread, with mini pies in mugs for dessert. Not too shabby for our Christmas away from home!

After such a wonderful, trying, and interesting year, it is so lovely to end it up with a good friend in our company. Leah was one of our last friends to see us, as she was on the first leg of our Honeymoon flight, and is the first one we have seen since leaving. We are so happy she made the crazy holiday journey up to us so we could all be in good company for Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

My budding photographer


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