On Christmas Eve, I woke up early to go for breakfast with my bff and his girlfriend, and we headed for one of my favorite places – Le Pain Quotidien. After breakfast, we all had some final shopping to do, so we made a few stops at some stores in the area, and then I hopped on a Citibike and headed down to Union Square.
Some people might think the modern way to do your Christmas shopping is to order things online and have them shipped to your door. But when the gift is a Kombucha Brooklyn homebrewing kit, which weighs in at about 20 pounds and can cost quite a pretty penny to ship… there’s another modern way to do things. (Nope, it’s not getting on a train to Brooklyn.) I tweeted Kombucha Brooklyn to see if they would perchance be selling the brewing kits at their stand at the Union Square, and they responded that while they didn’t usually have kits at the holiday market, they’d be more than willing to pack one up and bring it along for me to pick up! Wow, now that is great (Twitter) customer service 🙂 The kit just barely fit on my Citibike to get it home, but I felt pretty darn festive with the Citibike as my modern version of Santa’s sleigh 🙂
My mom arrived in town later that afternoon, and after getting all her things settled in the apartment, we headed out for a totally-cliched-but-totally-awesome Christmas Eve meal: pizza at Patsy’s, followed by some quiet time at my apartment with a movie and some merlot. I think movies on Christmas Eve are going to be our new family tradition! And pizza was the perfect way to have a meat-free meal without having to either cook or find a place with great seafood.
I didn’t go to bed till later than my usual, but since church this morning wasn’t until 10am, I was able to wake up without an alarm and still manage to squeeze in a quick 4 mile run along the Hudson before hopping into the shower. It felt so great to run first thing in the morning, even if it was freezing (20F) at the time! But running warmed me up quickly, and by the time I needed to head back to my apartment, I was wishing I could stay out and keep running longer. Next time!
We met up with my bff and his family for church, since we all go to the same one a few blocks away, and it ended up being really fun to have company at Mass. Mat is normally pretty lackadaisical about things like being on time, dressing up properly, etc, but his mom really kept him in line – to the point where I was texting him on the way there to see if I’d be judged for bringing a cup of Starbucks coffee into church! (My own mother tolerantly said I could if I finished it before Mass started, but his mom put the ixnay on bringing it at all. Which, in hindsight, was definitely the right answer) Sitting next to Mat reminded me of when my younger cousin Alex and I used to go to church together when we were kids, and how we’d try to crack jokes with each other without getting in trouble with our mothers. Funny that it was going to church (and not present-opening) that ended up being the part of the day where I felt most like a little kid!
After Mass it was time for the usual present-opening… but this year, that was accompanied by some traditional New York bagels and cream cheese 🙂 My mom loved her kombucha brewing kit, as I knew she would, and we immediately put the scoby back into the fridge for safekeeping. For my part, I was really excited to get lots of new running socks, as well as a gorgeous framed photo collage of my mom and I when we ran the More Half Marathon together in 2012. That is going on my wall for sure!
We spent most of the rest of the afternoon lazing around and watching TV – starting with a DVRed copy of A New York Christmas to Remember, which was a special Christmas show filmed right at St. Paul’s where we had been that morning for Mass! It was really fun to get to see our church on TV 🙂 After that, we turned our attention to a video-on-demand performance: The Nutcracker. I had performed in The Nutcracker all through my childhood, starting as a polchinelle whirling out from Mother Ginger’s skirt and then eventually working my way up to dancing the role of Clara. I loved hearing the familiar score, and was amused to find that as I listened I even remembered a lot of the choreography! Hours and hours of Nutcracker rehearsals every year seem to have really drilled it into me 🙂
And after TV watching? Still more relaxation, this time in the form of a movie in the theaters. Since my mom and I had gone to see one of my childhood best friends as Winifred Banks in the Mary Poppins national tour this summer, we thought it would be great to go together to see Saving Mr. Banks at the movies. Unfortunately, while it was interesting to see the historical tale of how Mary Poppins was created, the movie was incredibly depressing and often slow, and I found all of the main characters to be incredibly unlikable. Not quite what we had been looking for in a feel-good movie for Christmas Day!
But regardless of our opinions of the movie, we were still able to come home (via a crowded-but-fun stroll through Times Square), have a nice Christmas dinner, and relax…. and that was just fine with me! I don’t think I have ever spent a Christmas with so much screen-time (two movies, a Christmas special, and a ballet on TV!), but it was actually the perfect way to relax in each other’s company and enjoy ourselves. Plus, what’s a more New York way to spend Christmas than dinner at a famed pizza place, church at an iconic cathedral built in the 1800s, bagel breakfast, and then a movie in Times Square? (Okay, so we missed ordering Chinese food for dinner, but there’s always tomorrow for that and ice skating at Bryant Park!)
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, hope you had a marvelous day too! 🙂