The tree was purchased and went up the first weekend in December. Although this was a bit early for me historically, it definitely got things kicked into gear quickly. That same weekend we bought Christmas Vacation and White Christmas on DVD and watched Elf for the first time. We also listened to the Elf soundtrack a good dozen or so times which insured that I had Christmas carols thoroughly stuck in my head for the next 4 weeks (who knew that I happen to run to the exact tempo of every carol every written?). Anyhow, this first weekend was when we also started to lay out the menus for our first Christmas as a family. We figured since it was just the three of us, we were free to experiment as much as we wanted with the food.
The weekend she did get home, we received our first flurries of the year. Snow is just so stupidly exciting for me; I was automatically in an amazing mood. That Sunday we had also planned to go see the Messiah. I have seen it performed numerous times with my parents in the US, and when I lived in Japan I saw it done by a Japanese Catholic choir. Kathleen and I also saw it performed in Montreal at an old cathedral one winter and it was amazing. I also have fond memories of listening to this with my dad as he enjoys a glass of scotch and explains why everyone stands during the Hallelujah chorus. So this is a holiday must for me and we were looking forward to it in the modern Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool. To summarize, it was long, cold, acoustically poor, and the champagne spritzer served at Intermission was undrinkable... We made it until the end of the Hallelujah chorus and then jetted out the back door. Sure the head priest gave us a dirty look, but come on the man was wrapped in a heavy blanket like robe while the rest his flock was freezing! Ahh… the holidays!
Having thoroughly done the holiday, we started to pack our bags for Scotland!