A slight adjustment to mom's nativity scene: Deadpool stands guard of the baby Jesus.
The toy tie-in for the upcoming Deadpool time travel movie

Traditionally, people open their presents Christmas morning but, when we were kids, we just couldn’t wait.  My cousins and I would gather around the tree, shaking gifts for any hint to their contents, holding them up the light in the hopes we could discern some a word or phrase through the thin wrapping paper: “robot” or “light saber” or “jet pack with invisibility function”.  We would whine, plead and pester our parents until, eventually, they allowed us to open one present, just one, at the stroke of midnight.  The rest of the presents would have to wait until morning.  The single present at midnight eventually became a tradition until, years later, committed whining and pleading and pestering yielded an extra present.  We were permitted to open TWO presents, one at midnight, another just before bed.  Years later, it became three presents.  Then four.  Eventually, we ended up opening all of our presents at midnight.

Fast-forward to 2013.  We open the presents at around 8:00 p.m., all of them, so that we can clean up and be in bed before midnight.  I predict that, in ten years from now, we’ll be opening our Christmas presents on Thanksgiving Day.

After an afternoon spent helping mom make lasagna (layer the pasta, sprinkle the parmesan, coat with sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella, repeat, repeat, repeat), we sat down to a great Christmas dinner and, of course, dessert.  Once the dishes were done, we retired to the living room for what Akemi has termed “The present opening ceremony”.

As always, the opening of the gifts was much fun.  Akemi got a new winter coat (prior to leaving for Montreal), a teapot, a tea selection, chocolates – but it was a pack of hot pockets that elicited the most enthusiastic response.  I guess that tells you how cold it is here (-21 celsius with the wind chill).

Some of my gift-getting highlights:

Superhero jammies!
Superhero jammies!
Beefcake!  BEEFCAKE!  Deadpool beefcake.
Beefcake! BEEFCAKE! Deadpool beefcake t-shirt.
A Christmas Story-themed boxers.
A Christmas Story-themed boxers.
Mom winding down.
Mom winding down.
Bedtime for Ralphie
Bedtime for Ralphie

And, yes, as per new tradition, we were in bed by midnight.

Today, it was off to visit my cousins for Christmas lunch.  More food!  More dogs!

Mom's oven-baked shrimp
Mom’s oven-baked shrimp
Roast turkey, lasagna, shrimp, salads.
Roast turkey, lasagna, shrimp, salads.

  And, for mom, this post-binge medicinal liquor that she describes as “Very bitter!”:

1Thanks for all the holiday wishes!  I read all the comments, as always, so let’s hear what you’ve been up to (and eating!).

28 thoughts on “December 25, 2013: Merry Christmas!

  1. We did the tree and presents (for Anakin),but decorated it in a Jewish theme. 🙂 No disrespect intended toward anybody, mind you! The baby has a bad cold and I’m staying away (got waaaay too sick the last time), but I watched him open his presents last night. I catered Cuban food, lechon asado (roasted pork)), black beans, fried plantains, rice, the whole bit and then some flan for dessert. I love putting that pork (again, soooo Jewish) in corn tortillas and adding some lime juice, kind of like carnitas.

    I love your new pjs, Joe, very sexy! Molly and Finnegan are gorgeous!

  2. What have I been eating? Well…for the last three…no, four…nights we’ve had [gluten-free] pasta with sauce and Italian sausage (sweet & hot). Exciting, no? Finally finished it off tonight…but I got the last wee bit so now I’m even more hungry than before dinner. I think I’m gonna dive into some hummus. 🙂

    (Been chillin’ today…naps and cats! Life is good!)


  3. you seem way too happy about getting socks. but i suppose that those kind of socks are important when wearing a suit.

    Roast turkey, lasagna, shrimp, salads.
    that’s quite a spread.

    ….so let’s hear what you’ve been up to (and eating!).
    not much. as for the food; ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce (jelly) & pumpkin pie. as well as ferrero rocher hazelnut chocolates.

    what did you end up getting for your mom?

  4. Maybe Deadpool in the nativity can become a family tradition, like this guy:




    PS: I just ate WAY too much of Bobbi’s Mild Garlic Hummus – which is VERY garlicky, so don’t let the name fool ya. Garlic, and chickpeas. My poor, poor husband… 😛


  5. Wow, your mom always has a wonderful looking feast! We also had lasagna, hot rolls and a double layer pumpkin pie for dessert, extra cool whip please. and a nap. And leftovers for tomorrow. Santa came to our house this morning, he is always nice. and I wish he would clean up the paper and dishes when he leaves, but maybe thats my present.
    Ralphie looks like I felt after eating way too much, how cute. Thanks for sharing your family and ahhhh,,,photos of gifts,,jammie/beefcake man. Enjoy your visit and all the great food to come! Merry CHristmas to all!!

  6. I had to laugh right off the bat at the Deadpool Nativity! Awesome.

    I think you’re sending your cold temps down here to NB! The temps dropped to -16C tonight, but I don’t think it supposed to last. Still lots of places without power around here, but things are gradually getting back on line. Never did have any more trouble since this morning at my house. I really give credit to the hard working folks at the power company, giving up their Christmas so that others can get back to theirs.

    Love the jammies! I just got a few things as usual, a nice sweater and one of those Magic Bullet mixers from my friends in PEI, some nice home made foods like jam and salsa from my nephew and his family, and a few gift cards here and there. Pretty low key as usual.

    Spent a lot of the early day relaxing, but I did get invited along with my step-mom out to her great-niece’s place for dinner. Of course that necessitated the near 1/2 hour trip to the hospital, getting her to the car from the wheelchair, the 1.25 hour drive to the great-niece’s house, dinner and socializing, then back to the hospital, getting her settled and then finally home. Great traditional Christmas dinner with the fixin’s, though! My step-mom was pretty exhausted by the end of the whole process, as am I. It’s nice to be home and not moving.

    All that food looks great, but I have to admit I couldn’t eat another bite!

  7. Barb and I had a clash of family traditions when we got married; Christmas Eve vs Christmas day present opening, and ham vs turkey. So we compromised. The tradition now is spiral-sliced ham for Christmas Eve, and goose or duck on Christmas day (it’s just too close to Thanksgiving for turkey). And for presents, we open one on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas day.

    Both the ham and goose were good this year, but our dog, Lucy, sneaked into the kitchen today and got ahold of one of the legs of the freshly carved goose; we found her under the kitchen table chewing on the drum-stick. It reminded me of the scene from Christmas Story where the Bumpess’ dogs stole the turkey from their kitchen. Fortunately for us, the rest of the meat was untouched and our meal proceeded without further incident.

    As for presies, I got socks and underwear too! Although it wasn’t the novelty kind; it was three pairs of Duluth Trading “Bare Naked” underwear. I also got the full Stargate SG-1 DVD set. I previously had the full set on DVD, but my son, when he was a bit younger, damaged and lost a number of the discs. It’s nice to have the full set again.

    I gave Barb a Magic Bullet mixer (hey, she asked for it!), various bluetooth cell-phone accessories for her new phone, and a bunch of bath and body works creams and bath gels. The kids got a laptop and craftsman tools (for Jackie) and Kindle Tablet and Ravens sportswear (for David) as well as various games.

    Best of all, it has been a nice Christmas with family and friends.

  8. I’ve never known anybody to delight in getting socks and pajamas for Christmas. It’s very refreshing and the pajamas are very cute. 😀

    I love the festive bow in mom’s hair.

    Ralphie is adorable; I even like the shirt he is wearing today. Molly and Finnegan are also adorable.

    Look at all that delicious food! I haven’t had dinner yet and maybe I won’t need any after looking at that spread.

    I’m glad you had a good Christmas Eve and have fun with the cousins. 🙂

  9. We had our traditional Christmas Eve celebration: seafood chowder and a Winter White type of white wine from Michigan (one of my favorites), Christmas Eve candlelight service, packed the baby nephews off to bed, and the adults had cheesecake and opened our presents. I got a heavy-duty set of graduated springform pans. Cool! We were in bed by 1:30 a.m. 😀

    Today we had the usual relaxed Christmas: dinner at noon (bro had to work today) – roast lamb, roasted potatoes with Turkish oregano, baked yams, green bean casserole, pistachio ambrosia, and after the food was put away, decorated sugar cookies. Family took off early, and the rest of us settled in with books, blogs, and lovely Christmas music.

    Now the cookies are a Christmas recipe fail for me, but at least this year there was a big improvement. They tasted tons better, but were still chewy. Can you imagine a grown woman who has trouble with sugar cookies? LOL. JeffW’s cheesecake recipe is my dessert-making redemption, though. (For which, God bless him forever.)

    Have been keeping everyone in physical therapy in my prayers, as well as others, too. My physical therapy made things a lot better this year in between bouts of bad pain, but the flares are still there. Maybe getting back to exercise DVDs would help in general. 🙂

    Thanks, Joe, for all the great photos of family, food, and beautiful dogs. Glad to see everyone is looking great! No pic of Akemi? Looking forward to Christmas visit stories tomorrow.

    For everyone, here are some more Christmas dogs. The “wheel dog” closest to the sleigh is doing the heavy lifting. And love Santa’s visit to the nursing home, as well as the pup riding in his lap. Merry Christmas, all!

  10. Nice feast.

    Merry Christmas to all!

    It’s been a nice Christmas. I’m so much more organized this year, as in only moderately disorganized. I’m not even sleep-deprived right now.

    My mother-in-law, as always, got us tons of great gifts, but also a gift I’d specifically told her I couldn’t use. There was actually no scenario where I could have told her what I needed but not ended up with the version she thought I should have. I have no explanation for why this happens, only many years of experience that tells me it will keep happening and what the stated explanation for it will be (“that’s all they had”, “I couldn’t get out to a different store”, etc.). And she’s been through enough rounds of it with me to know I’ve stopped storing such things in my basement and will now store them at her house. But it will never, ever stop.

    Also, the number of copies of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer she’s bought my kids is now up to five (six or seven if you consider the not-claymation version legit). She’s not senile. She’s one of the least eccentric people I know if you don’t count a handful of these little, tiny, crazy-making things she does. When you write a modern-day version of Gaslight, and the villain is trying to convince the protagonist she’s crazy, capture that feeling of opening the fifth copy of Rudolph. Do it in memory of the saner version of me you once knew.

  11. Depending on everyone’s schedule, we will get together Christmas Eve night or any time on Christmas day. If it’s Christmas morning, we have breakfast with every breakfast food imaginable. We don’t do a formal Christmas dinner like the turkey and ham for Thanksgiving. I catered everything this year over to my mom’s house. I made (all this morning for the late afternoon gathering) small sandwiches on a variety of breads, meats, and cheese, (and also made some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into fours – my favorite) a macaroni with peas salad, an orange jello salad, a potato casserole, baked beans with sausage, fried cheese sticks, chips and dip. I also took over some egg nog, a
    varity of cakes, a dreaded fruit cake only my parents will eat, and a big tin a assorted cookies. Then we open gifts, which are getting less and less because some cannot affort to do that.

    I got myself a pack a socks for Christmas too! Unfortunately my feet hate them. They are very picky. They like soft, not tight socks. Maybe my feet are just mad because I have been on them all day.

    Ralphie is so cute. I want a dog that will cuddle like that!

    I going to go take my shoes and dumb new socks off now and put my feet up. And a couple of aspirin too…

  12. @for the love of Beckett:

    I’m glad your cheesecake was good. And you received springform pans for Christmas? You are well on your way to being known as “the Cheesecake Lady”! 😉

    For our dessert effort, David, with a little supervision from me, made a chocolate and a butterscotch cheesecake for our Christmas Open House (they were both hits).

    Roast lamb sounds good too, but I have no complaints about our goose; it came out juicy and flavorful. I used the staged carving method where you remove the breast and then keep on roasting the rest of the bird to keep the breast meat from being over done:


    And thanks for the PT prayers; I have another appointment for tomorrow (3 a week). I’m now able to handle about 2/3rds of my body weight on that knee, meaning I still need crutches, but I’m making progress, so my spirits are good.

  13. Food? Christmas cookies for breakfast, then a nice carrot-spinach-white bean soup for lunch. SIL brought the nephew over, someone at his group home had “helped” him buy presents. Cherry Blossom bath gift basket. I began sneezing immediately, had to send it home with his mom. They gave me a cup filled with the “family Christmas dip” which is cream cheese with a lot of onions and olives in it. Next visitors were the kids (who are not actually my kids). Brought me a Godzilla crosstitch mini-sampler, so cute! They forgot my other gift at home… oops. But I really scored with the many small gifts I got for them, wrapped and stuffed in paper grocery bags. We had crackers and some fancy cheeses, my favorite was the white Stilton with orange and dates (thanks Costco). The “family dip” went with them to a Christmas party. I had leftover pork short ribs for supper and fell asleep with the Blues Brothers on.

    My husband is delivering a load of groceries of some sort in Illinois this morning. I think he and his student driver are headed down toward Florida next.

  14. Merry (belated) Christmas everyone!

    Very relaxing Xmas at our house. Opened presents around 6am, while our tradition of 24 hours of A Christmas Story supplied the background.

    We did a very cool family gift: The Atari Flashback system with 76 games. It really took me back to my childhood of 8 bit gaming goodness. It was a big hit with my 20 year old son who’s a hardcore gamer.

  15. Oh my, all the food pictures and descriptions are making me drool. Can I have the recipe for your mom’s shrimp? If I’m ever traveling during Christmas I may have to stop by my blogmate’s houses and sample all the wonderful dishes! We could gather up a food tour starting in Montreal and ending in Florida!

    I would love to make something different for the holidays. The boys are traditionalist and I had my shifts at the humane society, so I made them a ham (easy). Of course, I made creamy, cheeseie, garlicky mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts for me. Shrimp would be a great addition next year though.

    Most everyone sounded like they had a wonderful Christmas. However, Narelle sounded a little sad, missing her mum. I’m sending you a big hug Narelle! Big hugs to all that have lost someone and are missing them this holiday season.

  16. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas. We had a terrific prime rib roast for Christmas eve with roasted veggies at my daughter’s house. Then for Christmas lunch I made a huge pot of vegetable beef soup. They’ve both become family traditions over the past several years. And New Year’s day is always pasta – I start the sauce early and the smell drives us all crazy until dinnertime.

  17. What am I up to? About 5 extra pounds that I know are gonna stick for 2014 if I don’t get back to the gym. But man the food, the late nights too tired to cook, to busy to cook, and I seem to have activated the sweet tooth into high gear. It was a great Christmas, didn’t have to travel anywhere… the only “traveling” I did was on Skype and we opened presents with my mom and sister together via internet. ( my stargate is out for repair, otherwise I totally would have used it and the puddle jumper got run over by a reindeer). My Stargate DVD collection is complete,I finally have all 10 wonderful seasons!!!

    Joe, your mom looks great!! Does she want to adopt one more??? She is an amazing cook.

    Happy New Year!!!

  18. Lovely to see your Mom Joe. I miss spending Christmas with my Mum. She was always awesome at bouncing off suggestions for presents for everyone. Plus she was an incredible cook. I miss her hugs too. I’m also missing my kitty who passed a few months ago. She was 17.

    Anyhoo Christmas dinner was at my sister’s where we had a selection of meat – roast turkey, chicken and ham, roast potato, sweet potato and pumpkin, steamed veggies and salad. It was a buffet and was delicious. The Dessert selection included plum pudding, mini pavlovas, jelly, fruit and gingerbread house my niece & nephew had made…..mmmmmmmm

    My love to all…. Bye

  19. @Deni Anakin is adorable.

    @Joe What did you ultimately get for your mother?

    Christmas as a young person sounded much like yours. Then Christmas as a single person was opening presents on Christmas Day. Christmas as a single person with a boyfriend was doing similar traditions as his family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christmas with Patrick after we discovered that the sound of paper tearing/shredding made him vomit results in Jeff and I opening our gifts to each other Christmas Eve after Patrick went to bed and working with Patrick one paper tear at a time to open his (which sometimes took all day and sometimes resulted in a long of crying from his parents). It really did suck a lot of joy out of the holiday. Christmas Day today looks like this: I want to go to Space City Con Jan 3-5. It can be like my Christmas present. Jeff: Fine–if you get that, then I get to buy an XBox One. Deal? Deal. We got Patrick 3 presents, 2 of which came from a party store. But he opened them all on his own.

  20. This year was spent eating the usual Christmas goodies of my favorite candies in my stocking and then the typical Turkey dinner. And as usual because there is no such thing as Stargate wrapping paper or gift tags, I made my own. It was simple and the pics are on my blog along with today’s episode chapter for Atlantis’s Sixth Season’s Fourth Episode “Veritas”. Also I got a bat’leth, full size, from my Mom as well as an Atlantis book to add to my shelf. I got my nephew-in-law Star Wars Battlefront I and II which works on his Xbox 360 thanks to learning that Xbox Live has a handy dandy download to adjust for the tech switch between the Xbox and Xbox 360, so we rocked it out for the Empire in Instant Action and Galactic Conquest the entire night. So all in all it was a great Christmas.

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