Tuesday, 25 December 2012

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...

So I'm behind on blogging! Here's a little peek at what our little tree looked like once we decorated it! Initially we just hung candy canes on it and I baked up some gingerbread decorations...

a few days later a package from England arrived and my sister sent us tons of cute baubles and red and white striped twine that made our tree look even more festive and fun! 

No Christmas tree is complete without gingerbread men...fact! 

and because I love bokeh, I couldn't help myself!

These little heart decorations had to be my fave! 

This week, another package arrived from England and this time my Mom sent awesome gingerbread men ribbon! 

So we added some onto the tree, on top of the candy cane ribbon that was already on there to make for one sugar themed tree! 

We didn't have a star to go on the top so this past weekend when we were in Whistler we picked up this awesome decoration and decided it was worthy enough to adorn the top of our tree, because after this weekend Whistler has become one of my favourite places in the world (but that's a post all in itself!)

We've also been busy taking bus rides to all the most decorated houses in town!

 It's one of our Braithwaite traditions, we would always drive around the towns that we've lived in blasting out a Christmas playlist hunting down the best houses! It's a bit more complicated on the bus! but when I see a house as I go whizzing by I make a mental note of it's location and later we'll take a trip out to see it! 

I was especially fond of the cute little candy cane path at this house! 

and this house kept it classy with just yellow and white lights and a giant lit up wreath above the door.

This inflatable Canadian hockey player was rather fun!

and these giant candy canes either side of the entrance way made this house photo worthy!

My favourite house we've found so far though is just a block away from our church, and comes complete with a life sized gingerbread house in their front garden, a lollipop walkway and sweets and candies hanging from the trees! How awesome can you get! 

We also took this pic one night facing towards downtown.  The skyscraper on the right has a santa's hat made out of lights on top of it! and even the cranes here get involved and light themselves up! We've also seen a few cars driving around with mounds of lights on top of their roof which always cracks us up! 

To carry on the festive fun, on Friday night we headed to the 'Festival of Lights' at Van Dusen Botanical gardens.  

It was pretty amazing, they have over 1.4 million lights throughout the garden...

and they have fun little features like gingerbread wood and candy cane lane!

These little guys were living in the wood!

Not only are the lights pretty to look at, they also do awesome synchronised music displays.  The video we took of it had loads of background noise of people talking but you can check out what it looked like here.

The red and green tree at the back was pretty cool,

and these tulip lights were amazing!

With so many lights around, it was time for more bokeh!

These were some of the tiny bulbs lining the lake up close...

and you can see candy cane lane in the distance if you look close here!

It was a great night out to get in the mood for the upcoming celebrations!

and now it's hard to believe it's nearly all over! Hope everyone had an awesome Christmas day spent with the ones they love.  It was definitely a different one for us being so far away from home, but one filled with fun and new friends and memories that will last a long time.

Happy Christmas!

Check back next time for the hundreds of photos I took in Whistler this past weekend! 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmas festivities have begun...

As soon as December 1st rolled around I was ready for Christmas action! I wanted to be involved in everything that was going on! When I heard about Vancouver's amazing German Christmas market I was super excited! 

So we headed there, actually even before December 1st, on the last weekend in November! and I was ready to have some festive fun.  I figured we'd be there for at least a couple of hours so we got there early.  I'm not sure if I was expecting Winter Wonderland proportions, but we ended up seeing the whole thing in around 15 minutes! 

It was pretty disappointing I thought...

but I did get a tasty bratwurst,

By got a schnitzel

and we got some hot apple cider in this Vancouver painted mug that we got to keep! 

Plus we got to see this giant horn so not all was lost! 

In my mind it didn't matter too much because later that night we were heading to 'Candytown'.  A Christmas festival in one of the neighbourhoods downtown known as Yaletown.  It had been advertised as something major...that the trendy neighbourhood would be turned into a winter wonderland with twinkling lights and giant candy canes, plus an awesome Christmas market for all your holiday gift shopping! 

Unfortunately, these ice sculptures were as good as it got! 

Unless I wanted to join up for a Costco membership or buy a piece of fudge from the handful of stalls that made up the 'All I want for Christmas Street Market', then that was kind of a letdown! They had free horse drawn carriage rides too but the queue was around the block and over 100 people long! 

So with no giant candy canes in sight, we looked at the ice sculptures, took a picture by this sign and headed home! (Why they would choose Torquay out of all the places in England is beyond me! random!)

I was beginning to think I just needed to lower my expectations for Christmas fun here in Vancouver! but fortunately the Christmas tree farm pulled through! We headed out to H&M tree farm last Saturday after hiring out this pick up truck! 

I had heard you could cut down your own tree, which sounded amazing! 

So we got there and found fields and fields full of Christmas trees, varying types and varying sizes! It was tough to choose because there were just SO many! 

We got right down to business by grabbing a saw on the way in!

By was designated lumberjack for the day...since he's the forester after all!

I had my eye on these 10 foot beauties! but I'm thinking we would have been there a while sawing through those fat trunks!

In the end we settled on this little guy and By got to work,

it was easier than I thought it would be and in no time at all we were in the 'line up', as they say here in Canada! ready to pay for our tree!

but the excitement didn't end there...oh no!

because we got free hot dogs, and free hot apple cider! They sure do love to give free stuff away here :) I was especially in love with these giant ketchup tins they kept the skewers in!

The coolest part about the free hot dogs was getting to roast them yourself around the campfire!

If only I'd brought a stash of graham crackers and marshmallows in my pocket! It was also a nice way to warm up after we'd spent quite a while browsing for the perfect tree and had got pretty chilly!

Once the frankies were sufficiently toasted, we loaded them up into their buns and chowed down.  

Those of you who know me well will know just how important a real Christmas tree is to me each year,  if you don't know I spoke about it last year here.  I've always loved Christmas tree farms the best, but the fact we actually got to pick and chop the tree down too will certainly be a tree picking experience I won't forget in a hurry!

Now if only the rest of the Christmas fun would live up to the hype, I'd be a very happy girl indeed!