Spending the holiday season away from home has been a little strange. Although I am enjoying summer here, it is weird knowing that a white Christmas will certainly not come, and that some Christmas traditions will not be possible this year…like skiing on Christmas morning with my dad and sister, or getting cozy holiday pjs from my mom on Christmas Eve. To try and get in the holiday spirit, I’ve been working on combining a few of my Christmas traditions from home with some of my favorite things about Buenos Aires.
The first order of business was getting a tree. My mom decorates like crazy for Christmas (exactly like this), making both of our homes beautiful and festive. After browsing through a few stores near where I work, I decided it would be nice to get a little tree for my apartment. While waiting for the bus after teaching, I stopped into a dollar store that was filled with Christmas goodies. I got a (slightly sad looking) tree and some red bows all for about four USD. I was excited to set up my tree and add a little Christmas cheer to our Palermo apartment.
One good thing about Thanksgiving being over is that it is finally socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music non-stop, and watch lots of Christmas movies. I spent one lazy Sunday downloading all of my favorite holiday songs (like this, this and this) and a few movies. We watched Elf one (extremely) rainy afternoon. I also brought How The Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas to watch with Manu one day and learned what Christmas traditions the Manes family has during the holidays. In my family, we always watch A Christmas Story and Love Actually on Christmas Eve (after enjoying my absolute favorite meal), and It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas Day…this year I’m saving these for my long bus ride to Mendoza to keep myself sane.
I really enjoy baking, and after being called-out by the boys for not having baked anything yet, I thought that now was a good time to start. Christmas always makes me think of cookies (my mom makes a ton and I always raid the stash at my best friend Mia’s house), so I chose to make two favorites that my mom makes. I made magic bars but changed the recipe slightly from this. Instead of graham cracker crumbs, I mashed up a different kind of cookie from here called FrutiGrans, and added dulce de leche pieces to the top of the bars. I also made meltaway nut balls following a recipe similar to this. Both treats came out great and the boys really enjoyed them, which made me very happy. A few days later I came across another recipe that sounded super easy. I made three-ingredient Nutella brownies (I sprinkled coconut flakes on top of mine)…I was initially nervous because the batter was very thick (I realized later it was because I doubled everything in the recipe except the eggs…oops), but the brownies were really yummy.
Although I am sad to miss Christmas with my family, I am really looking forward to my holiday trip to Mendoza and Santiago de Chile!