This year, 2008, marks Kyle and Alli's first Christmas out on their own.

Kind of monumental I guess. We decided not to make our usual voyage home for the holidays, but instead to stick it out here in MA-- not because we did not want to see our families, but because I am desperate to finish a PhD and move on to bigger and better things. I thought I'd be writing by now. As it turns out I'm just doing round-the-clock experiments, but they are almost over, and for me the decision to stay here has been a good one.

Alli actually ended up making a late decision to fly and see her family this weekend, but only after we had spent our first Christmas together on our own.

She dressed the place up even more than usual to make up for what we would miss, getting us our first Christmas tree, hanging stockings, and decorating a wall with Christmas cards.

We talked briefly in the last week or so about what we would do for Christmas Eve. We tossed out the idea of doing our monthly date night, but none of the restaurant options that we immediately thought of were open. Then we bought a spiral ham at the grocery Sunday when I impulsively tossed it into our basket, and decided that would be part of a good Eve meal. But then we cooked it Tuesday night when it was convenient and had that for dinner.

Wednesday we both went to work, then to our church's evening service, and were headed home with plans to eat leftover ham, when we both agreed we were not too excited about having it again. So we surveyed our options. There's always Chinese food, but we agreed this wasn't what we were looking for. Then there's the good Indian food at Punjabi Dhaba, and we were headed there when we noticed that Spice and Rice was open and opted for Thai/Japanese/Korean fusion.

We were still going to take it to go, but the restaurant had several patrons and we decided to have a nice seated meal after all. The menus came and I remembered how good and decently priced their sushi is, and I was happy. Alli's not big on sushi, but was quite pleased with the Thai options. Being that we were seated in the restaurant we decided to also go for an appetizer of edamame and a small bottle of sake. Everything was fantastic.

I'm personally placing my vote for Christmas Eve sushi as a tradition we may have to try and uphold, in large part because I feel like it just fell in our laps. The evening was unscripted and excellent, a nice quiet chat over dinner instead of take out on the couch rapt in the TV glow. Of course it looks like we'll have to stick to places that provide options other than sushi until I convince Alli it's one of the best things on earth (which I still believe there is potential for, as she used to not like tomatoes, a terrible offense that time has cured her of). Also it might not be the easiest thing to find depending on where we are on Christmas Eves in the future, but we'll be flexible and see what we get.