Texan in Norwich


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A (White) Texas Christmas

I’m back in Norwich now playing catch-up now on the Christmas posts… I’m not very good at this, am I?!

On Christmas Eve, my extended family, who all live nearby, came over to have dinner and exchange presents. We do secret santa for the adults, and I had drawn my Uncle Rick. I knitted him an awesome scarf, if I do say so myself. Here he is with it and his silly son, Payson.

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I received an amazingly warm coat from my grandma, which has come in really handy in all this snow!

On Christmas Day, we had (gluten free and vegan) pancakes for breakfast, then my sister came over and we exchanged gifts. I am now the proud owner of not one, but TWO animal sweaters (a fox and a panda, thank you very much). We had tamales for lunch, which is a sort of Mexican/Texan and family tradition. Then for only the second time in my life, we had a white Christmas!

Cleo in the snow

Our dog, Cleo, just as it started snowing.

Snow in Grapevine

Christmas Eve is always the party day in my family, so Christmas Day is very relaxed and lazy. We played some board games, watched some movies, and enjoyed being inside during the cozy Christmas snow.

A few days after Christmas, my friends from high school came over and we had our annual Christmas White Elephant Exchange. I know people call this game different things, but this is where everyone brings a cheap/gag/regifted gift and we take turns opening them and stealing them from each other. This year I ended up with Anne Heche’s biography and James got a box of magic tricks. Last year I got some Justin Bieber magnets and a thing you put in your toaster to burn the Virgin Mary into your toast, so this year was an improvement! We’ve been doing this since 2007, our first Christmas in college.

P1020568Not the best picture, but oh well!

The week of Christmas, as you can see, is pretty much the same every year. Pre-Christmas outing with my family, Christmas Eve with my extended family, Christmas Day eating tamales and relaxing with my immediate family, and then a White Elephant Exchange with my high school friends. There’s something very comforting about coming home every year for Christmas and knowing all these events are waiting for me. It’s probably my favorite week of the year.


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Back in Texas

Well, here we are! Texas! The weather when we arrived was beautiful (70F / 20C) and sunny. It was like transporting into another season.

Grapevine Lake

The first thing we did when we got here was throw our coats, hats, gloves, and scarves in the closet not to be used for about 2 weeks! We did need them eventually, but really enjoyed a little warm break.

For the past three Christmases, my mom, sister, grandma, and I have all tried to get together for a Christmas baking day. We’ve never actually done it. The first year I couldn’t come, the 2nd year it was just me and my mom, and this year we thought my grandma wouldn’t make it. She ended up being able to drop by for a little bit with my 8 year old cousin, and we had a really nice (and messy) time. We make lots of sweet treats and pack them up to give as gifts to friends and coworkers.

Sister and I baking

Sister and I baking

P1020422My grandma and cousin, Payson on baking day! Also a little cameo from our dog, Cleo, and my sister peeking in the background.

Christmas BuckeyesThese were the big hit of baking day. The recipe is here, and they are gluten free and vegan (I left out the bacon in the recipe). These were SO good! I’m making some more for a party tonight.

I have to say, baking day was a big success this year. We had a few people who received boxes ask for more, and then for the recipes. And it was a lot of fun being silly with the ladies in the family (and James), and making a huge mess of the kitchen.


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Christmas, part III

By the time this is posted, James and I will be getting ready to head off to Texas! We’re very much looking forward to some warm weather and sunshine, seeing my family, and playing with out dog and cat! I’ll be posting some blogs about Christmas in Texas later, but for now, here’s the last of our Norwich Christmas.

Even though it’s been very cold and grey here, walking around town feels a bit special with all the lights and Christmasy storefronts. We’ve been doing a bit of Christmas shopping, in addition to all the Christmas knitting I’ve been doing. We’ve also been to a few Christmas markets, and have been drinking lots of hot drinks around town.

The Iron House

The Iron House, home of the best soy hot chocolate

The Royal Arcade

The Royal Arcade

Jarrolds

Jarrolds

The weekend before last, James and I made our way across town to the Dragon Hall Medieval Christmas Market. We’d never been to Dragon Hall before, so it was a good opportunity to see it and do some Christmas shopping at the same time! It was a very impressive building, built around 1430 as a trading hub. The market was a fun mix of slightly sinister medieval gifts (daggers for Christmas, anyone?) and sweet homemade decorations and gifts. Many of the sellers were dressed up in medieval costumes, so that was also fun.

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The unassuming outside of Dragon Hall

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Part of the market from the courtyard

Dragon Hall

Upstairs

Gingerbread Man

The only thing we ended up buying…

James and I also went to the Christmas Clutter City Market, and this nice one at the Forum, complete with school band.

Forum

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Well, that’s it from England! See you in Texas!


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Christmas, part II

One of the biggest regrets I had from UEA two years ago was not getting to take part in any of the Christmas events in Norwich. I saw advertisements for the Christmas Lights Switch-On and knew I wouldn’t make it standing in the cold in the evening, however much I wanted to. This year I was determined to go. With promises of fireworks, carolers, night markets, and entertainers, how could it not be a fun? It was all very sweet and silly, and I loved it. Norwich is beautiful at Christmas time.

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Carols at City Hall

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Lifesize Snowglobe!

Night market

Night Market– everything smelled soooo good

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When the lights came on!

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Fireworks!

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Fireworks from the top of Jarrolds

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Lights on at the Market

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Jarrolds looking beautiful


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Christmas in Norwich, part I

It’s Christmas time! And I love Christmas time. James and I put our mini tree up and flat decorations about a month ago because tomorrow we’re leaving for Texas! We wanted to be sure to eek out as much Christmas from Norwich as we could before we left for the entirely different Christmas experience that awaits us. I think we did a pretty good job.

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Here’s some of our flat decorations!

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And my favorites, the snowmen:

Snowmen!

More Christmas posts are on their way!