Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone’s having a great Christmas this year! I know I am so far, and since it was just my birthday two days ago as well, I’ll soon write up the usual post of my haul. And we saw the Tintin movie on my birthday, which was awesome, so I’ll have more to say about that as well.

Merry Christmas!

The gift tally

Really good holiday this year (by which I count my birthday and the Christmas days together), with good gifts but especially with family and good friends. My birthday was fairly low-key, with just the family and a boozy theme: a gift card to the Brew Shop, a giant bottle of Jack Daniels, a magnum bottle of Anchor’s 2010 Christmas Ale, a bottle of German mulled wine.

(Update—forgot to mention a new computer chair for the office as well.)

Christmas Eve was the first of the big parties: we hosted at our house (which we do every year), with homemade pulled pork sandwiches, lots of potluck food, lots of candies and cookies, and of course lots of good drinks. I warmed the mulled wine in a saucepan, and we had plenty of beer (both homebrewed and specialty bottles our friends Paul and Sandi brought over), wine, and some mixed drinks going on (our friend Karen brought over some homemade vanilla schnapps she had received).

Food was great, the company was greater. Besides Paul and Sandi and Karen, Shannon and Brian and their son joined us (and of course my family was here as well). Everything went off without a hitch and everyone had a great time (I hope!).

Then of course, Christmas day. Which began really, really early (does it start any other way when you have kids though?)—the kids were up at 6:45 checking their stockings (that’s an arbitrary time we’d set up long ago), but I had mostly been awake since around 6. (Plus, the dog had woken us up at 2am, barking briefly at something we couldn’t figure out. Maybe Santa?)

After opening presents, we had homemade crème brûlée French toast and bacon for breakfast. Yes, it was pretty much as good as it sounds.

For Christmas, I got:

  • Candies and chocolates, a flask funnel, mini bottles of coconut rum and cinnamon whiskey, Guinness-flavored BBQ sauce, and lottery Scratch-Its in my stocking. (“What’s in Santa’s Beard” is the weirdest Scratch-It game ever.)
  • Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
  • A gift set of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage bourbon, with a combination cigar holder/flask
  • Four specialty beers
  • A belt
  • A bottle drying rack (for cleaning beer bottles for homebrewing)
  • A homemade calendar day planner (my daughter made it)
  • Money

The gifts are awesome, but it was spending Christmas out at Mom and Dad’s with everyone (Paul and Sandi and Karen joined us again, as well as some other old friends we seen once a year) that really made the holiday for me. My parents put together a fantastic dinner and party and it was perfect. There was so much good food and drink that food coma had set in by the time we got home. But we couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas.

I hope everyone else had a great holiday this year too!

Obligatory post-Christmas post

Okay, I freely admit I stole the title from Jake. Everyone have a good holiday? Mostly? Good.

There’s no denying it, Christmas is for the kids. We had more presents under the tree than ever, I think, almost all for them. And, they’re just at that age now where Christmas is a Big Deal, possibly the Biggest Deal of the Whole Year, so it was full frontal X-Mas this year. (Yeah, I chose that phrase deliberately, just to weed out the pervs. I’m watching you.)

So, here’s a (mostly boring) list of what I got this year, both for my birthday and Christmas (no particular order):

After the morning of opening presents and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over new toys and cleaning up and everything, we went out to my parents’ house to spend the rest of the day eating and visiting in our traditional Christmas manner. This is actually my favorite part of Christmas, I think, family and friends getting together to celebrate the holiday.

This year we caught up with a family friend we hadn’t seen in four years, with an interesting backstory: he’s a forensic criminalist based in Ontario, Oregon. That’s right, he’s a CSI, although, as he put it, without the guns, the drama, or anything like that. He wants to get transferred to Portland because there’s not enough homicides in Eastern Oregon… seriously. Mostly it’s lab work, identifying meth and other similar drugs.

What’s funny is that I was under the impression for years now that he was a forensic psychologist, which is what I’d been telling people. Doesn’t that seem more exciting or interesting somehow? I don’t know, but I was pretty amused by the thought of him matching wits with the Hannibal Lecters of Eastern Oregon…

Ah, such is Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year!

Merry Christmas

Charlie Brown:
[shouting in desperation] Isn’t there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?
Linus:
Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you.
[walks out to center stage]
Lights, please.
[a spotlight shines on Linus]

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the lord shone round about them, and they were so afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men'”.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.


That’s probably my favorite quote about the holiday, pulled of course from the classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Christmas with the bloggers?

So earlier in the month Shannon floated the idea of a Bend Blogger Christmas party. Not too many people responded, but since then we at least decided on a date if we’re going to do it: Saturday, December 10th.

Would there be any interest to this among our local bloggers? I’d emailed a few to test the water, and got some encouraging response (Jake, Wendy…), but I figured it’s time to make the general call.

C’mon, Bend Bloggers, let’s get some response! Who wants to join us for a Christmas party—gift exchange and all? The sooner we know, the better!

And hey, even if you think it’s a lame idea, at least give me some pushback on it! :)

Post Christmas

Yes, this is the post where I detail what I got for Christmas, etc. I’ll even throw my birthday gifts in there for good measure.

It was a good Christmas, too. (First Christmas in our new house.) After we got up and opened up presents, I made some giant French toast on my new griddle (got it for Christmas), wearing my new bathrobe (Christmas). I also got two cookbooks, Quicksilver, a fifth of Jagermeister, several bottles of McMenamins beer, a Jack Daniels gift set (whiskey plus playing cards and dice), a Barnes and Noble gift card, The Return of the King DVD, and A Charlie Brown Christmas (the book adapted from the original TV special).

For my birthday two days earlier, I received a Peanuts daily desk calendar, a photo Christmas tree ornament (with the kids’ picture in it), an unusual sculpture/pen holder for my desk at work, several bottles of McMenamins beer (this was kind of a boozy holiday, I think) along with an Old St. Francis School pint glass, a gift certificate to Pegasus Books (the local comics shop), a personalized keychain, and cash. Cold, hard cash.

All in all, a nice haul.