My husband and I were married on December 14th. He picked the date, deliberately and well in advance. He always wanted a Christmas wedding and I pretty much always knew that.
Since we started dating when I was only 14, I hadn't given much thought to wedding plans before meeting my husband-to-be, so a December wedding became what we both wanted. He knew what he was doing.
The wedding was a Christmas wonderland.
Instead of flowers, fresh fir trees and wreaths filled the church. I carried a bouquet of velvety, red roses accented with holly as I walked down a candlelit aisle. We gave out glass ornaments as favors and rode away in a horse-drawn sleigh draped with jingle bells.
Just the way we hoped, everything about our wedding day was perfectly Christmas. It is odd then that our anniversary celebrations -- 10 years in 2012 -- simply seem to leave Christmas out.
Of course, we are surrounded by the lights and sounds of the holiday season everywhere we go. My husband and I just don't plan around them when we remember our wedding day.
Most years, we make an overnight getaway to a upscale resort about an hour's drive away. We go because it is close and, well, swanky, not because of the almost life-sized gingerbread village in the lobby or carol-playing musicians at sunset. In fact, we're usually not even there at sunset.
After checking in, we forgo the hotel restaurant's holiday themed menu in favor of a local Chinese bistro.
Though the entrance does have white twinkling lights, there is not much Christmas about it. However, the spicy lettuce wraps, sweet honey chicken and fortune cookies they serve have become somewhat of an anniversary tradition.
Even when we do get away and especially if we don't, I like to cook an anniversary meal for just the two of us. I laugh thinking about the menus of the past. They are definitely not typical holiday food.
I never meant it to be that way; I just make my husband's favorites.
I've served meatloaf and potatoes more than once. We ate enchiladas and queso one year, and, I think, even BBQ.
No matter how casual the meal, the table is always dressed to impress, and there is nothing Christmas about it. In fact, I hide the bowl of ornaments that serves as our seasonal centerpiece in a cabinet. The Santa-face placemats are tucked in a drawer.
In their place, the delicate ivory china, platinum-rimmed crystal and sterling flatware received as wedding gifts come out. Yes, even for the BBQ. The glass candle holders my bridesmaids carried go to the middle of the table. I have a stash of monogrammed napkins from our reception saved just for these nights.
The napkins are red with gold ink giving a hint of the holiday around us, but only the slightest. Looking at the table, you will never know it's the middle of December.
The Christmas season is still our favorite. We start planning for it in late summer and have holiday movie nights throughout the year just to think about the season.
On December 14, however, my husband and I have learned, even if unintentionally, to celebrate just us.
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