Chelsea and Chris’ Mini Christmas

The Christmas Tree

Hello everyone! We hope you enjoyed your Christmas. To all of you who are still fighting the distance we encourage you to stay strong. Like many of you, we are battling the miles between us and were not able to spend Christmas day together. We decided while I was in England visiting Christopher that we would celebrate Christmas together a little early, We called it our “Mini Christmas”. For our mini Christmas meal we made sure to include American dishes and English dishes.

Despite being very similar, there are some subtle differences between how Christmas is traditionally celebrated in Britain and in America. While most of these are to do with the meal, there are some traditions that are different too. In Britain, for example it is traditional to pull Christmas crackers – small festive tubes with a small explosive inside that reward the winner with a Christmas hat, and joke. In America these are not commonly used, and certainly not an integral part of the Christmas day. Another difference is in our stockings. In America we are used to hanging our stockings above the fireplace, while in Britain you would more likely find them above the bed. One tradition that does not change however, is leaving Christmas presents under the tree.

Mini Christmas Presents

Our Gifts Under the Tree

Our Gifts Under the Tree

As we were staying in an Airbnb rental, the Christmas tree in the house was not our own, but our host’s. Fortunately however, we were lucky enough to be able to borrow it for a day. This meant that we were able to leave our presents to each other under the tree, just like a normal family. In the photo above you can see the presents I wrapped with ribbon, and those that Chris wrapped without. We opened our presents while our meal was cooking and received some amazing gifts.

We made sure that our gifts were size appropriate for each others suitcases since we’d both be travelling at various points over the holiday season with the presents inside. And, of course, because we both have birthdays so close to Christmas our suitcases would be filled with those too. With luggage space being so valuable, it was important we didn’t buy gifts that were too large! I also brought lots of treats from America to fill Christopher’s stocking with. I wanted to contribute items from home, to give him a taste of an American Christmas stocking. We bought so many stocking stuffers in fact our stockings literally lost their form!
Stockings & More

Stockings & More

Even though we did try to keep the size of our gifts to a minimum, we both spoiled each other quite a lot. Both of our stockings were full to bulging, and you can make out the extent of their deformation in the photo above. Fortunately, most of the items in these were edible, and didn’t last too long. On top of that, we also gave each other a number of actual Christmas presents. Chris gave me a body butter gift set, a Zelda printed t-shirt, a pen with my name engraved on it, a dual time zone watch, and a cute personalised luggage tag. I gave to Chris: a Nivea travel toiletry set, a men’s travel manicure set (he asked for it!), cologne and new headphones. It was certainly a lot to open, and we were both surprised by the amazing gifts that we both received.

Party Hats and Photos

Posing By the Tree

Posing By the Tree

After we opened our presents, we just had time to pull our Christmas crackers before our meal was ready. Inside the crackers were terrible party hats, which it is obligatory to wear at any British Christmas dinner (for a while at least). So, we put on our hats and posed in front of the tree for this photo. By this point, we were both pretty hungry and could not wait for our food to cook. We played with our newly opened presents, while itching the slightly uncomfortable (but festive) Christmas party hats to pass the time.

Despite taking a while to cook, we were both happy that we had come up with the idea of a Mini- Christmas. From last year, we knew that being apart over the holiday season was difficult. It is hard to be away from each other for such an important day. But now we were finally together, and celebrating Christmas as a couple. It might not be on the 25th December, but the 22nd was close enough for us. So even on Christmas day, we still had these photos to remind us that we were able to celebrate the day together as well.

Mini- Christmas Dinner

Mini-Christmas Dinner

Mini-Christmas Dinner

Our Christmas meal was an assortment of British and American dishes. We cooked oven roasted turkey with herbs, bacon wrapped sausages, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, mashed swede, gravy, and a Yule log. At home, my holiday meals always include turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, and green bean casserole. It’s not vastly different from the British Christmas meal, but it’s something I can’t imagine having a holiday without.

Chris wanted to include some British favourites as well, and suggested that we add include bacon wrapped sausages, mashed swede. However, as neither of us are a fan of fruitcake, and Chris doesn’t like raisins Christmas pudding was out of the question for dessert. We settled for a Yule log instead to top it all off. It might sound like an odd combination, but it was a delicious combined meal!

Overall, we had a wonderful evening making the most of our time together cooking, eating, and opening presents. We didn’t let the fact that we couldn’t be together for the actual day get between us. Our mini christmas was still just as comforting and special as ever! And next year we are determined to be together on Christmas Day itself.

– Chelsea


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Chelsea Martin

Chelsea Martin is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and a Certified Behaviour Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI). She has been training dogs professionally since 2007, and is the Head Coach for Dogs Trust Dog School Nottinghamshire. She met Chris on a trip to England in 2013, Married him on New Year's Eve - celebrating 2016 as husband and wife!