Lain's Log

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

December 30/12.

Hard to believe this is blog post #400 since I started Lain's Log back in February of 2011!
Might as well celebrate by making this the Christmas entry!

The young generation of Christmas celebrants - Max, Kate, their cousin, Lee, and Kate's boyfriend, Damian.
(Lee is showing off the new sweater we got him from American Eagle at the Eaton Centre).

My sister, Carrie, Max and I prepared the concoction known as "Grampa-Lain punch" - a tradition handed down to us by my late grandfather, Arthur Burridge. He taught me well. Lots of Welch's grape juice, and a variety of other frozen juices, mixed together with Fresca and Gingerale to give it sparkle.

Lee also got in on the punch action! We always use the original punch pail and ladle from about circa 1970 I think.

The table looked very pretty. For the first time, I used the famous red (and green fringed-edge) tablecloth I inherited from Mum. And of course, everyone got a Christmas cracker!

It was a great meal! PC easy-carve turkey, gravy, mashed potatos, peas and two kinds of stuffing - traditional bread and cranberry, plus our cranberry-orange relish made from another old family recipe.

We had so many prezzies! Took a few hours to get through them all.

Great gifts for everyone in a room filled with packages, boxes, bags and tissue paper!

I got this coat of many colours from Sam, bought at Alchemy, one of my fave stores on the Danforth.

Max got a Beatles DVD from his sis, and his girlfriend, Robyn, got gift certificates for the Beach Cinema from us.

Lee had a tough time opening gifts because our cat, Tru, insisted on sitting on his lap! (Not the best thing, since he is semi-allergic to felines)! Yikes.

Christmas dinner wasn't the only meal of the day. We also had the annual brunch - all made by me, (believe it or not - ha ha!) Mac and cheese, quiches and the good old egg casserole, a favourite served only once a year! Also champagne and orange juice, croissants and jam! All delish!

In between meals and opening gifts, Max and Lee hung out in the basement, playing video games.

And later, Kate, Max and their cousin, Lee, jammed together for the first time, playing a string of songs from the John Mayer anthology.

Lee's voice is sounding great!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

and yep, St. Nicholas soon was there!

Max and Kate opened their stockings in the morning while still in PJs. Always fun!

Max got this cool Mona Lisa-style KISS t-shirt from Kate.

I was very happy the way things all turned out. Our family group dwindled to a smaller one this year...small, but mighty!!

Working backwards, December 24th started off early. I arrived at the Leslie Street Loblaws just as the sun was coming up,

to pick up the two dozen fresh croissants I'd ordered at the bakery - some plain butter ones and some, chocolate.

Also had lots of other last minute items to get.

The rest of that day was spent cooking.

I bought a new frying pan which made things easier. The egg casserole requires 24 extra-large scrambeled eggs!

Plus another dozen eggs, a ton of veggies and lots of shredded cheese

to whip up a pile of quiches! (this is NOT a low calorie meal. Gak!)

Christmas eve was spent wrapping all these bags of gifts and stuffing stockings,

while watching It's a Wonderful Life on TV,

one of my favourite traditions.

The few days before Christmas were filled with other activities like shopping for baby clothes for our youngest little cousin, 18-month-old Sienna. The new Walmart at Gerrard Square had plenty to choose from.

Kate dressed up in holiday colours,

for her annual caroling party. She and her friends braved terrible weather conditions to go out, sing, collect canned goods and cash for the Loblaws food drive.

I took the goodies and cash to Loblaws the next day (December 21st - "End of the World" day), and managed to survive,

with time to spare to buy five bottles of cousin Kevio's fave sparkling wine to take to the annual Staples family Christmas bash!

We had a fabulous time at their place for a second Christmas! Such a lovely table setting!

And also got the chance to go see Anthony Rapp (of Rent fame) in his one-man show at The Panasonic Theatre on Yonge Street.

A fabulous four-star production! Anthony has an incredible voice and succeeded in making everyone both laugh and cry!

So, another Christmas has wrapped! It was a blast. (Hope YOURS was good too)!
Happy new year to one and all!

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Christmas time is here, happiness and cheer?

December 19/12.

Coming up for a very strange and (sometimes) sad Christmas I think.

The first one without Auntie Ray, (who passed away July 16th, 2012),

the third without Uncle Ev, (December 14th, 2010),

and also third without Mum, (October 19th, 2010).

Luckily, Carrie and I still have each other to lean on as we sing, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas....until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow," (as Judy Garland performed in the emotional original lyrics, before someone changed them to the crappy - "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.")
Gag me.

And we have our cute kidz, Kate, Lee and Max, (who will hopefully perform some Christmas music for us)!

Carrie has significantly-significant other Paul Nodwell,

and I have "Mr. Responsible," - Sam!

and of course, we have our beloved cousin Kev - (and his shy family who prefer to stay out of pics as much as possible). But "Mr. Rough Trade" has never turned me down when it comes to "posing." Love you Kevio!

So all in all, hopefully, we're bound to have a truly Merry Little Christmas, HOWEVER it plays out!

My son, Max, helped me decorate on Sunday the 16th - (getting down to the wire!) Though we're not all that religious, we always unwrap the creche,

the three wise men, the shepherds, the animals, Mary and Joseph, and our own private little game is, whomever unwraps the baby Jesus, is the winner. (That tradition was started by our Mum when Carrie and I were kids - we would race like crazy to find that little baby)!

This year, it was Max who located him wrapped in tissue paper, in his tiny manger.

Took hours to get the 20 boxes of decorations up from the basement, unpacked, empty cartons returned to closets,

and all the little Santa's sleigh trinkets carefully placed on display.

Other special sparkly ornaments fill the dining room,

or are placed on table tops,

around the house. I know where each and every one of these decorations came from, who gave them to us and the meaning behind them.

Won't bore you with the details, but I adore them all!

Meanwhile, (before I got the decorations up), my daughter Kate had a special holiday potluck dinner party with a group of great friends. She and her boyfriend, Damian, (with her in the funny face t-shirt at the end of the table), cooked up a storm. Everyone else brought a dish to share and a great time was had by all! It's a pleasure to have these kids around!

I went shopping for MORE traditional items. We ALWAYS got red Delicious apples in our Christmas stockings from Santa, so of course, I had to have a few of those,

as well as plenty of mixed nuts to suit the nutty fam,

plus honey tangerines, (also always in our stockings),

and some Clementines from Spain at $3.99 per box!

Then another trip back to the Eaton Centre,

where I checked out the changing colours of the LED tree,

took an auto-cam pic with it, and

then went shopping for family prezzies, hoping I didn't buy all the wrong things and sizes!
Still more to come, and yes, be afraid, be very afraid!

What's left to do? Cooking! (not exactly my specialty...duh).

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