Kristen here - It's 11:00 PM on Christmas Eve. We just returned from an amazing night with our new friends. We were planning on going to a free crusers dinner tonight, but when we called the location, we found out that the dinner was actually tomorrow. So, instead we headed into town for dinner out. To our chagrin, we found that town was absolutely deserted. When checking with one soul left about, we were told that nothing was open. Not giving up hope, Martin (the Dad) started walking around and found a wine bar open that served pizza and cheese. This turned out to be perfect. We had the bartenders oven working overtime, making two pizzas at a time while we drank wine and ate cheese. The kids listened to the guitar player and kept themselves busy as only cruising kids can. I believe the major entertainment for them was blowing things accross the table at each other. Sitting in a wine bar with pizza and cheese and friends we met 4 days ago, sharing cruising plans and sailing stories, was simply heaven.
As we were sitting there enjoying each others company and conversation, listening to music, and watching our children you realize that this is what its all about. It doesn't matter where you are or what you have its the enjoyment of the present and the now. Its the people you meet and the memories you share that matter.
As another example of the magic of this Christmas, today we walked to the supermarket for groceries. It's just over a mile away, and we looked foward to the exercise. I went with Casey, Kaitlin, Olaf and Marit. Everyone was more than happy for the diversion. While there, I noticed they had cured hams that didn't need refrigeration. I mentioned to Olaf that his mom was talking the previous night that she wanted one, and without hesitation grabbed it to buy for a Christmas gift. He brought money to spend, and didn't buy candy or anything for himself, he bought a ham for his mom. At home, this would be an action to hide in front of your friends, especially for a young boy. So I was glad for my children to see such behavior unabashed in other children. All of the kids love to share their different attitude about life, and their different way of living and they are so proud of it as well.
Yesterday we made sugar cookies and turned them into decorated santas, stars, christmas trees, snowmen, hershey kiss cookies, jam thumprints, and snickerdoodles. It's amazing how many types of cookies you can make from one recipe! The kids all came over and decorated the cutouts. Kaitlin went to Marit's boat today and made Dutch cookies, which turned out to be a delicious treat enjoyed by all on the dinghy ride to dinner tonight.
It has truely been a magical time this Christmas. I talked to my mom earlier, but at dinner they kept playing Neil Diamond songs (her favorite). When the third song was her favorite, I saw it as a sign that I should call her, so I did just that. I did however just remember that I forgot to talk to Dad, so Merry Christmas Dad!!! I miss them a lot, but also seeing my family change for the better makes it worthwile.
The main challenge this Christmas has been keeping gifts secret. I have bought a few that the kids have seen. They were upset at first, but now they understand that there can't be secrets on a boat. Today at the grocery store, Casey told me that he was going to buy my present. When I got to the next aisle I saw an attendant pointing out the collanders to him. (I don't have one on the boat and we've needed one a lot) I see him coming down the aisle, looking at me and telling the attendant, "no, no, no". I didn't understand what was going on untill I see her pointing out the collandars. Then I realize what he was getting. Oh, and this would be the second time I've accidentally found out what he was going to get me! He ended up buying something else at the store that he says I will like just as much. It all really makes you realize that it's about the thought and not the gift. It's the simple things. We can't buy much for each other because we don't have room, so what we do get has to be small and meaningful.
I wish everyone out there the merriest of Christmases. We hope that your holidays are as magical as ours has been.