I just realized I haven’t been home to see our families for Christmas since 2006. I could almost count the year 2007, when we went home to get married, but on Christmas Day we were half way back to Nova Scotia (and stranded in Quebec with a broken truck). Maybe next year?

Christmas with just the two of us is nice, but quiet. I miss having a house full of people, laughs, conversations, and fun. I suppose that’s just what I’m used to from growing up with a big extended family.

We were invited to our neighbour’s house on Christmas Eve for open house, drop in party. It was really nice to meet some more people, have some caribou meatballs, some homemade apple cider, and we even were invited to another family’s prime rib Christmas dinner if we didn’t already have plans. People here are so welcoming and wouldn’t hear of you spending any holiday alone.

BAKING

On the day before Christmas, I got started on my baking. I made some incredible soft gingerbread cookies from a recipe my sister-in-law shared recently. I made a batch with sugar for me, and then another batch with Splenda for Jeff. These cookies are so amazing that the word ‘amazing’ seems like an understatement. Ah-mazing. You should make them! They are super easy.

On Christmas morning, after presents, and during phone calls and Skype sessions, I made a cherry pie. I don’t know why I’ve been having a cherry pie craving, but I wanted one. I was planning on making a cherry pie, a pumpkin pie, and a banana cream pie (Jeff’s traditional Christmas dessert) but my plans scaled back a bit when I did a head count of the two people in our house, and even more when I couldn’t find frozen pie crusts in the grocery store. I was going to have to MAKE the crusts!

I’m pretty sure I’ve made pie crusts when I was young, but it has been years. I didn’t once think of consulting any of my cookbooks, and I went right to the internet to find a cherry pie crust recipe. Probably a mistake.

I prepped the crust on Christmas Eve, and got the dough made and rolled up in the fridge. On Christmas morning I rolled it out, and while it smelled perfect, it was crumbly and really hard to work with. I almost scrapped it all together, but persevered, ditched the idea of a lattice top, dumped in a couple cans of a light cherry pie filling, and threw it in the oven.

Cherry pie

It tastes okay actually, but it is super thick. I think this crust would be more suited for a meat pie. Hmmm, now there is an idea!

Jeff picked up an 18 pound turkey in Whitehorse on his last trip down. He’s our meat cooker, so the turkey and dressing are his masterpieces every Christmas.

Naked bird, stuffed and ready for the oven

After the turkey went into the oven, we had a Christmas lunch of shrimp, crackers, meat, and probably the best Gouda cheese I’ve ever had, that Dad and PJ mailed up for Christmas.

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After lunch, when I went to water my indoor garden in the afternoon, I discovered growth! The microgreens have already germinated, in just 5 days.

See the few green sprouts popping up?

Christmas Gifts

Christmas gifting was scaled back this year. I’m nervous spending much money, with a house still on the market in Nova Scotia, and shipping costs to the subarctic are pretty extreme.  I gave Jeff a wireless bluetooth speaker he wanted for his desk at work, and everything else I bought locally. We both got each other more local history books. I got him a couple Dick North books – Mad Trapper of Rat River: A True Story Of Canada’s Biggest Manhunt and Lost Patrol: The Mounties’ Yukon Tragedy. He gave me a book I’ve been eager to read, called Good time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush which is all about the prostitutes that lived up here in the Gold Rush and early 1900’s. Their stories fascinate me, along with everything else about those wilder times. He also got me I married the Klondike by Laura Beatrice Berton, and The Boreal Gourmet.

I got a couple new shirts too! We have a custom print/clothing shop here that made me a Dawson City sweatshirt with reflective ink. It is really cool! I also got a t-shirt from the Downtown Hotel, home of the sourtoe cocktail!

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Me in my new Dawson City sweatshirt

Jeff also got me a survival knife! I’ve had a lot of pocket knifes, Leathermans, and Swiss Army knives over the years. I wanted a good Yukon knife, one that didn’t fold up, but most of the big knives are pretty intimidating. I have no fears of axes, chainsaws, or other sharp things, but I’ve always been a bit skittish around big knives, likely all from violent imagery we are inundated with in movies and on tv. I found one I was comfortable with, and now it is mine! It is a Bear Grylls Ultimate Fixed Blade Knife. I’m no Bear fan girl, but I like this knife. It’s made by Gerber, and has a nice rubberized handle,  great notch for finger, and a wide hilt between the handle and blade. It has some nice survival gimmicks built in too, like a whistle, a fire starter, and even has a sharpening area for the blade on the back of the knife holster on the sheath. The knife itself has a small serrated area which is handy. I’m eager to see the future to know if I’m actually going to strap this baby to my belt because it will look far more ridiculous in a purse.

gerber knife

Mom managed to find Jeff something he’s been wanted for years. My Mom, Grandma, and Jeff’s Mom, all have this ceramic Christmas tree that was made back in the 70’s, I’m sure, with a light bulb inside to light up the lights. Mom found a newer version that Jeff is delighted with! It is a bit smaller, and runs on batteries instead of a plug. It is also far less precarious being one piece rather than two.

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My brother Brian and I agreed we weren’t going to exchange gifts this year, and then they got us a gift certificate for a dog sled adventure!! Wow! We are really excited about this!

Christmas Dinner

Anyway, back to Christmas dinner. The turkey was ready by 4 or 5, our first turkey cooked in Dawson.

Our turkey, and a couple extra bundles of dressing
My plate, light on the mashed potatoes (not my fav)

Since it was just us, we didn’t feel the need to pad the dinner plate too much with pretty colours and sides, and stuck to the basics, turkey, carrots, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and rather than my own cranberry sauce, Jeff’s coworker gave him a jar of homemade cranberry-orange sauce that was really good.

The turkey is the best turkey we’ve ever had. It is melt in your mouth fantastic. Even the yucky white meat isn’t dry. It is delicious! Which is good, because our Christmas dinner only took care of one turkey leg, so we’ll have leftovers for week! (or longer!)

Lisa

Lisa (Verkley) Schuyler is a blogger reporting live from her new home in Canada's Yukon Territory. Often found wearing a hoodie, covered in pet hair, Lisa is a mis-placed forester who now spends her days engineering happiness for WordPress users. Lisa loves nature, animals, and most importantly, her handsome husband Jeff.

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