The Finest Gift

It is kind of nice to see Christmas in the rear view mirror. I love the giving/receiving of presents right enough, but the shopping part, the wrapping part, and oy.. the COOKING part I’m not so fond of. Well, the shopping part is kind of okay as it is always fun to buy something that you know the person will be over the moon about…and you can give them that whole “I bought your gift and you’re gonna love it but I’m not gonna tell you what it is..” thing.  Yup torture can be fun!

It isn’t completely fading into the rear view yet because we still need to pack up the decorations. The time they are up varies from year to year. There have been times where they’ve barely gone up before Xmas Eve and are stripped down shortly after Christmas, or other years where they’ve been up since early December and stay up until New Years day, this year has fallen in between those two extremes. Tomorrow I’m happy to say, we get that extra bit of square footage back and a little less clutter. I’m becoming more and more clutter adverse the older I get I think which is great because dusting is a LOT easier these days.

Christmas Eve both Tom and Sean were working. Both Tom and Sean were scheduled to be off work around 5:30 but both ended up working a bit later for different reasons. No worries though, that stupid BIRD, the whole cook from frozen stuffed nightmare wasn’t going to be ready by then anyway.  Luckily early that morning I had decided to look at the Butterball website to finally see all the warnings about how the cooking time of a stuffed cooked from frozen stupid BIRD can be affected from the size/approx cooking time chart values by various things such as cooking with a disposable aluminum pan (can add over an hour), using a cookie sheet to stabilize (can add 15 more minutes) oh and tin foil which you NEED to prevent the stuffing and neck from burning/overcooking can also slow the cooking time down due to who it can affect heat circulation. Um.. so how does what plan for when it will be ready? I always use a meat thermometer but still.. one needs to know when to reasonably start the side dishes and not over-cook the damn turkey due to the stupid internal temperature of STUFFING [breathe]… anyway, leave it to say I will be going back to the whole fresh or cooked from thawed stupid BIRD from now on Oh yeah and part of the deal is you need to run the frozen turkey some warm water for a minute to loosen the bag and then remove the bag of giblets that is “under” the turkey inside the bag. Did that, and the wrapper came off easily enough but that bag of giblets.. not so much. It was FROZEN into the end of the bird (not on the bottom.) It was like it was trapped part way into the neck of the bird. I was starting to get a bit frustrated as I couldn’t put the stupid BIRD into the oven with a plastic bag attached so I tried a little more warm water right on the stupid BIRD and a bit of yanking (not easy to do by yourself with a big cold frozen stupid BIRD in one hand and yanking with the other. So much for it being “easier”. Came out kind of dry too after waiting to reach both internal and leg temps. Meh… oh well lesson learned. Oh and BIRD rant over.

Pretty much after the turkey went in the oven I had two cats underfoot. Nutmeg was the worst as he is ruled by his stomach and his stomach alone. Big blue eyes beseeched me for just a taste. I couldn’t convince him that it wasn’t ready yet because he could SMELL it.

Snifffffff I smell Turkey!!

Cinny wasn’t immune however and she joined him in the beseeching looks but hers weren’t silent and cute but loud and screechy.

Snifffffff I smell Turkey!!

Tom had collected my Mum on the way home from work so she was settled and visited with everyone while I was doing my kitchen thing. After dinner Tom and I cleaned up and then settled down to relax with some coffee before the to/from Mum present opening (the remaining presents were for Xmas morning.)

My Mum is pretty easy to buy for and I found plenty of things from her favourite perfume (Chanel No. 5) to a really cute aquamarine ring I had picked up in the States along with some very hard to find clip-on earrings. There were a few practical things thrown in there too like slippers and the like.

Xmas Eve 2010

Sean scored a hoodie… man he needed some too because his current ones were soooo past it and threadbare. I made sure he had several included in his Christmas gifts.

Xmas Eve 2010

Chris’ gift was cologne, he was down to stealing Sean’s every morning so that was high in the list for him.

Xmas Eve 2010

Tom’s gift was a laptop lap desk with a light.

Xmas Eve 2010

Mine was a necklace… but oops I don’t have a picture of it, it’s cute trust me!

Xmas Eve 2010

Xmas Eve 2010

We all sat around chatting for a bit and before we knew it,  it was around 10:00 pm.. Mum needed to get back to get her meds etc and she was all but falling asleep in her wheelchair by then. Late night for her.

I went with Tom to deliver her back to her place as she left with three times as much as she came AND it isn’t easy getting her and the chair into a car, especially as Tom no longer has his big car. My car was drafted as it has the bigger trunk, but even still the back split seat had to be leaned forward.

We got back home and had a glass of wine (okay maybe more than one) and ended up staying up longer than we’d intended. Ah well. I still go up fairly early (8:30) and started to make our Christmas breakfast. Sean ended up waking on his own (and was already on messenger chatting with his girlfriend) but Chris was a groaning lump under his blanket when I tried to wake him. Oh changed days these! Not that many years ago they were awake at the ass-crack of dawn wanting to open their gifts and breakfast was choked down as fast as possible. Ah how quickly they grow up!

We do the stockings first as I’m sure most people do, though stockings were a new thing for me until I was grown. My family didn’t do stockings and I always felt GYPPED when I heard my friends talking about theirs.

Christmas is one of the few times of year that I can get natural smiles from the boys when a camera is pointed in their direction. Correction, Sean will still smile but Chris is always “Mr. Cool” or “Mr. Glower” it seems.

Xmas Morning 2010

Xmas Morning 2010

Not looking gift horse in mouth I snapped away as they dug into their stockings. One thing I noticed about Chris and Sean is their different styles of gift opening. Sean slowly unwraps and looks at each item and then holds it up. Chris rips into it, glances at it and then moves quickly to the next only pausing on occasion if something particularly catches his eye and then inspects everything afterwards.

Bottoms of the stockings reached….

Xmas Morning 2010

Xmas Morning 2010

It was our turn. See we can’t open and take pictures at the same time….

Looking at the pictures later that both Tom and I took, I realized that we have a similar way of opening our gifts… concentration with a curious expression THEN a smile. It is pretty funny. Of course our smiles are genuine but often end up looking cheesy!

Xmas Morning 2010

Xmas Morning 2010

Then it was time for the main event. We went the same route with the boys opening their’s first rather than a huge free-for-all as I would have left mine until the end anyway in order to not miss any pictures.

Again if you look at the entire photo set, Chris is looking down in pretty much ALL the photos and Sean dutifully holds up each gift. Oh and Cinny was a total Photobomber.. she’s in as many pictures as she can be.

We do tend to go a little overboard at Christmas when we can, we figure we don’t buy a lot of stuff for ourselves all year so this is the time to do it up well.

Chris’ “big gift” was a pretty nifty GPS with bluetooth, lifetime maps and rerouting etc… something anyone with my genetics needs cos they are even worse at navigation than I am. Something they did not inherit from their Father who truthfully you could blindfold, turn around a thousand times and stick in a strange town and he could find his way. Tom is the same way. Me? Not so much. At least my hometown and the city we live in (and the surrounding cities) I am okay with but jebus help me if I ever have to drive to Richmond, or you know. Out of Country. I am okay if I have VERY specific instructions but beyond that… not so much.

Xmas Morning 2010

Sean’s was a DSLR.. entry-level but still, a heck of a nice gift. His face after seeing what he got was priceless and worth every penny.

Xmas Morning 2010

In fact other than when he got his Itouch for Grad, I don’t think I’ve seen his eyes any bigger….

Xmas Morning 2010

Or how long he spent examining the box…before even opening it. He was just stunned I think. He’s the only of the two that shows the slightest interest in photography (much to my distress as I love it so much) but he picked up the bug for SLR from him photo class last year. He feels more inspired than with a point and shoot which I get, but hell, I will use ANYTHING that is on hand.

Xmas Morning 2010

In the end, always making sure we’re fair, and cos he is SO much harder to buy for unless he gives me a LIST Chris got the balance in cold hard cash, I’m sure you can’t tell at all that he was pleased.

Xmas Morning 2010

Tom’s “big gift” was a slightly more than entry level DSLR, a twin to mine in fact.
Xmas Morning 2010

I had been prodding him for ages that he’d love one. I got mine through Airmiles of all things and you couldn’t pry it from my cold dead hands if you tried. I LOVE mine. After he played around with it he’d admitted that he’d been seeing my pictures and did kinda sorta want one too. I knew it!

Xmas Morning 2010
BTW Cinny’s face here KILLS ME!

Of course there were tons more presents and lots of fun was had by all. It was a great Christmas and everyone was very happy with their haul and royally spoiled, myself included.

I grabbed a couple of pics of my booty while all piled together in one place.

Xmas Morning 2010

A waterproof point and shoot (HUGE on my list as again as this fills my underwater, freeze-proof niche), an Epiphanie camera bag, fish eye optic for my Lensbaby, a tripod from Chris and a gorgeous frame from Sean along with a lot of other goodies!

Also? Another Joe Average print! This one is called “Bee Line” which I <3 – BTW if you’re so inclined Joe is having his annual holiday sale until Jan 10th.

Xmas Morning 2010

Just need to get it matted/framed and figure out where to hang this one!

In the end though, the finest Christmas gift of all was being able to spend it with my little family. I love them all so very very  much.

I hope whoever is out there had a great Christmas too.

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