My Christmas tree was up in the first week of December. I had already bought, wrapped and gifted most presents by the 14th. Can you tell I was excited? Christmas is possibly my second favorite day in the year, the first being my birthday 🙂 As an Orthodox Russian I have absolutely no relation to the Catholic Christmas celebrated on the 24th, but because my dad is Catholic, the whole family kind of goes with the flow- and we end up celebrating both Christmases. Fantasic isn’t it?
Much like every other year, I have enjoyed causing myself tremendous exhaustion and stress by trying to organize a Christmas gatherings (all-except-turkey inclusive) for my closest friends Initially I planned to spend Christmas with my parents, but they have shamelessly pursued a vacation abroad leaving me and Alex in absolute solitude over (my second most favorite day of the year) Christmas. The warm jittery feeling that comes from spending the holidays surrounded by loved ones was under immediate threat, and I set out to amend the catastrophe by any means.
Luckily, I managed to persuade Yulya to come back to Oman and spend the holidays with us. Now, “persuade” might be a rather strong word, when all I did is ask “how much is the ticket from Kuwait?” A few hours later I had an overly-excited Yulya bombarding my Facebook with flight details, visa inquiries and holiday plans. I thought it was too good to be true. I have over the years trained myself to react mildly to “happiness” just in case it doesn’t last. Because her husband’s resident’s card was expiring and Kuwait has a general problem letting people out of the country- I did not believe they are coming until their plane took off and landed in Muscat on the 22nd of December.
On this superb occasion I have organized a pre-Christmas/welcome-back-Yulya get together at our place. The simple gathering quickly grew out of proportion and turned into one of the best Christmas celebrations of our lives. There is nothing greater than being surrounded by genuine friends in your own home. However stressful the task of cooking/cleaning up/picking up Yulya at the airport and playing 1950’s perfectionist hostess (all within the span on an hour) was- we did a fantastic job! The table was groaning under numerous salads, pizzas, canapés, appetizers and sandwiches whilst the fridge was bulging with drinks eagerly cooling.

At 7:30pm I could hear her running up the stairs as I stirred yet another dish, she rang the doorbell anxiously and in seconds she was back home. Glowing with excitement, walking to and fro the kitchen- it was like she hasn’t even left. The cat was super excited to have her suitcases to explore, and her husband Dima clicked with Alex like they were good old friends. Friends were quickly arriving and I soon found my sitting room filled with 19 amazing personas, all content and basking in each other’s company. We grinned at each other all evening unable to believe that Christmas wishes do really come true.  

Here is a little insight into the preparations of the pre-Christmas-Christmas.   

 I go a little overboard with Xmas decorations 🙂

Along the first stages of making deviled eggs for the Xmas table.

High-tech tomatoes.  Mysterious milk.  Supersquash.  Are we supposed to eat this stuff?  Or is it going to eat us?

All I want for Christmas is you 🙂