We haven’t really been in the Christmas mood. We’ve been busy planning for our big trip, Bethany’s been quite sick with the cold, and we’ve had to get Bethany’s call group schedule ready for the new year.

So we didn’t get any decorations up this year. It seemed kind of silly to do so given that we were leaving on the 16th for over a month.

But that all changed today.

We arrived in Chilliwack last night, said hello to Bethany’s parents, and quickly went to bed. When we woke up this morning, there were several inches of snow on the ground!

Between the snow, the decorations and visiting family, it certainly feels a lot more like Christmas!

When we woke up, Clayton was at the Abbotsford airport to pick up Bethany’s brother Chad. He flew in from Saskatoon but was held up in Calgary due to the extremely nasty weather they were having there.

When Chad arrived, we headed off to the Chilliwack airport for lunch.

Bethany has been talking about this place for years. Supposedly the best pie that she has ever tasted came from the little cafe at the tiny Chilliwack airport.

Lunch was good, but was the pie as good as hyped? They didn’t have Bethany’s favourite available, so we had to try something different. Bethany chose a Banana cream pie, and I tried the German apple. And Bethany was right, the pie was spectacular. It wasn’t as good as my mother’s apple pie, but it was perhaps the best apple pie that I’ve ever had that wasn’t made with crab apples. And Bethany’s banana cream pie was even better than my German apple.

The next stop was to visit Bethany’s grandmother. Grandma Josie has had a difficult couple of years. She jumped decades a few times on us, but at other times was able to maintain a conversation thread and entertain us. The place that she was staying in certainly seems nice.

Next was perhaps the highlight of my trip: an early Christmas dinner! You all know how much I enjoy my food! Bethany’s aunt Marj, great-aunt Phyllis and her son Russell came over to help us celebrate.

Bethany’s mother made sure to include many of the elements of a traditional Scandanavian Christmas. We started off with rice porridge, and the supper included kringle and red cabbage. Chad complained about the red cabbage, but I ate his share! The tortiere and mandarin salad were also quite tasty, although not very traditional!

For dessert, Valerie made a very delicious winterberry cobbler. We also had some lefse. To complete the Christmas feel, we exchanged gifts.

And that completes our traditional Christmas: tomorrow we fly to New Zealand!