Christmas here is a low-key affair. As our friend Peggy said, "Christmas could come and go in Waterton and nobody would know". We have four days off work; the hotel's shut until Boxing day. It's lovely having all this time off...all filled with Christmas joy. Yesterday we went into town and bought Christmas food. Today our plan was to go cross-country skiing but we only skiied for half an hour or so before a)I got a migraine and b)we decided it was too windy. So we came home and watched Dawn of the Dead and ate scones that my workmate baked me (he refers to them as "biscuits"...idiot). Tomorrow we're going to Castle Mountain ski resort with some workmates! It'll be our first time downhill skiing/snowboarding. It's very exciting and I'm hoping it's not going to be too windy. Tomorrow evening, we're having a staff Christmas dinner at the hotel. There's only about 10-12 of us left but it should be fun. On Christmas day, Seamus and I have been invited to our friend Al's for dinner. And then I'm back to work Boxing Day for what looks to be an incredibly busy week or two.
Seamus and I bought each other one present each (I got him the tin whistle set in the top picture, he got me a cd and t-shirt which hasn't arrived yet). Other than that, we have a couple of presents from Vikki and Natasha. So the present-opening shouldn't take too long. But hey, Christmas isn't all about gifts. It's also about eating and drinking a lot. When we went to Walmart yesterday, I insisted on buying a French stick and some nice cheese (goat's cheese with cranberries!), as to me, Christmas is incomplete without cheese that never gets finished and ends up being thrown out. We also bought some red wine, and some mulling spices, so we can mulled wine for our Christmas dinners (it is an almost-unknown delicacy to the Canadians, apparently). We also found some Big Rock (a local brewery) Winter Ale, in a gift set including glasses and cookies. This would make an amazing gift, and the beer tastes so good! So we're all set for Christmas. The picture above also shows the Scottish shortbread we bought to take round to dinner at Al's - it was the only British and Christmassy thing we could find in Walmart.
We borrowed cross-country skis from the hotel for these few days; the last photo shows them in the wardrobe in the spare room. Seamus was saying how proud the Finns would be of us; we have a cupboard for skis and a cupboard for alcohol...I really love our apartment, despite how cold it gets with even the smallest breeze. Now that we have some Christmas cards (thanks Hazel, Claire, Stephen, Seamus' parents and my Nanny....), it looks like we actually live here (more cards and photos for our walls would be nice though....). Some workmates gave us their spare DVD player, so we can watch Region 1 films now (Seamus' laptop only plays European DVDs, of which we only have about ten). We've been in Waterton less than two months but it already feels like home. Waterton's small enough so that you can know everyone very easily; there's a community here that wouldn't have existed if we'd stayed in Vancouver. Despite the wind, the hard work, and the lack of shops, I'm happy we came here (and if nothing else, we're able to save a lot of money, what with there being nothing to do here...).
If I don't write before Christmas, I hope everyone has a good time. I miss you all a lot right now, and I'm sorry your Christmases won't be anywhere near as white as mine xxx