On Saturday afternoon I mentioned that I was on my way to my “Charis & Zoe” Christmas. It was so much fun!
After my mom passed away, my family never made a huge deal out of Christmas. My dad would give my brother and I our gifts on Christmas morning, but we didn’t have any other family over and the celebration was usually fairly low key. I’ve always really enjoyed Christmas, so I usually latched on to the Christmas traditions of friends or boyfriends. It was when I was in musical theatre school that Charis and Zoe invited me to spend Christmas at their house.
I had known them for a couple of years at that point and had started to become fairly close with both of them. I had a wonderful time that year. Being in school, I didn’t have a ton of money to spend so I got them a bunch of little things like socks and chocolates. The following year was kind of funny, thanks to an extra-large gift.
I arrived at Charis and Zoe’s house on Christmas morning and noticed that Charis was acting sort of strange and that she wouldn’t let me into the living room to drop off their presents. After a few awkward moments, she finally relented and I saw the cause for her behaviour: a gigantic present sitting in front of the Christmas tree.
Turns out the boy that I had been spending some time with had gotten in touch with Charis and asked if it would be okay if he dropped off my present at her house so that I could open it on Christmas morning. I had given him his gift the week prior but had not received anything in return and the appearance of the huge box explained why. After fearfully avoiding the present for nearly half an hour, I decided to open it. Inside was a stereo. Yes, a stereo.
Me and the gift giver had been talking for a few weeks and he gave me a stereo. I realized it was because I had mentioned that mine was broken and that I had been using a discman to listen to music. It was incredibly thoughtful, but a little too much, too soon. Charis, Zoe and I coined the term “going stereo” for when someone tries to make a relationship get serious too quickly. Unfortunately for the stereo-riffic boy, I realized that I wasn’t as interested in him as he was in me and I broke things off with him on New Year’s Eve. We’ve had a Christmas gathering every year since then, and I think the stereo is mentioned at least once each year.
Despite there being no stereos at this year’s Christmas celebration, but we did have a wonderful time together!
Charis and I consulted on the menu this week to determine what she and Zoe could make that was “Ashley-friendly”. We’ve always had something non-traditional and this year we ended up with Gado Gado from the Moosewood Cookbook (a favourite of Charis’)
It was so yummy!! It was rice with a mix of steamed and raw veggies, tofu, sprouts and a delightful peanut sauce. I savoured every bite and even went back for seconds! Zoe and I were sceptical about the raw veggies mixed with the steamed ones, but it was actually great because it provided us with a variety of textures within the layers. I made a cranberry-apple crumble for dessert Served warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla rice-based ice cream, it was absolutely delicious! The cranberries were sweet and tart and paired wonderfully with the apples. Such a comforting dessert, perfect for opening presents! (Zoe scoping out the gift situation)
Prior to our celebration, we send around lists so that the elves know what to buy! We also know one another pretty well by now, so we’re able to choose gifts that are fitting without relying on the lists as well.
I didn’t take pictures of all their gifts, but they included some body care, candles, notebooks and essentials oils for both of them, some pretty eye shadows and a super cool pepper grinder for Charis and some Foxy earrings and Dark Chocolate Dreams for Zoe. I received some amazing presents including:beautiful earrings
incense from Santa (how does he know where to find me?)
a great snack carrying container from Fit & Fresh pretty pens and post-it notes
over the knee stripey socks
and an amazing scarf. They know me so well!
It was such a fun night and I really feel in the Christmas spirit! I am so lucky to have such fantastic friends in Charis and Zoe. It is such a wonderful tradition and look forward to it continuing in the years to come.
Do you have any funny stories about overwhelming Christmas gifts or other mishaps? What are your holiday traditions?