Bye-bye Christmas

Today I took down all of our Christmas decorations. No more garland, Santas, stockings or trees. All of it packed away for another 10 months. Having a large home that we want to fill with joy has one incredible drawback.

Storage.

Its like playing a game of Tetris as we try and remember how everything was packed up. That just for putting the items into boxes. Afterwards was trying to hide it all away in closets and any available space. Our home doesn’t have a ton of storage space available. I have to take the time to put things in logical places as we will require them. Currently, Christmas goes in the back. Then Halloween decorations are in front of that. And right up front is things we may need for camping and traveling. Time consuming to say the least.

Hopefully our stuff remains glittery and undamaged in their storage spots. Nothing worse than finding busted up items and faded memories next Christmas season.

When do you take down the holidays at your place?

What I Didn’t Get For Christmas

Sometimes you just don’t get what you want for Christmas. Of course Christmas is a time of giving; But receiving is pretty sweet as well. I’ve tried to drop hints to my family over the years. I guess my subtlety was overlooked– Most likely ignored.

I had a wonderful Christmas, as I do every year. With good laughs and lots of love being spread. I don’t want to sound ungrateful. However, maybe next year Santa could find room in his sleigh for one of these items I’d kinda like:

I have been wanting a large 3D Printer for ages. Maybe not that large. But still, I love movie replicas. I see this as a way of doing it as a hobby with the idea of making my own movie replica props. Full size Han Solo in Carbonite? Yes please!

Speaking of movie props, on my list is the Leg Lamp with crate from the film “A Christmas Story”. I have wanted this for nearly three decades. Ever since I first saw the film as a teenager. It screams Christmas to me. Yes, my wife has known I have wanted it but refuses to buy it. She’s kinda like Ralphie’s mom in that aspect.

See that watch Elvis is wearing? There’s just something about the design of a Hamilton Ventura wrist watch. I’m not a watch guy, but this is the piece I have always wanted. Forget Rolex, that’s way out of my price range, or the trendy 1980’s Casio calculator watch (I had one of those at one point as a kid)- a Hamilton Ventura is where it’s at.

I have many other things I have hinted at that are just regular items, like a sawzall or outdoor speakers, but this dad just seems to get ignored. Honestly, I’m okay with that. All of these items I’ve mentioned, I could just go out and get myself. That’s not what Christmas is about.

I am delighted with the gifts I did receive from my family. Many of them surprised me. From a jar of mustard to slippers, or a stuffed animal that shares my birthday, or a keepsake from our trip to Japan- my family knows the right things to give me that hits me in the feels.

For this, I am grateful and wouldn’t change a thing.

Christmas Video Games

Almost all my life, Christmas has involved video games. Either getting new systems or games. This year was no different.

We picked up a Switch for the family and the NES/SNES minis for my wife and I. Even though I didn’t want to last year. We also picked up a couple games to play. All afternoon and night yesterday had us playing as a family.

Even today, everyone has been gaming throughout the house. Lots of laughs and smack talk a-plenty. When I was younger, my family never played games with me. I did play with friends quite often. Which was great. I also powered through those endless games for hours on end.

As well when I was younger, we had one of those large wooden cabinet tvs that sat on the floor. Over the Christmases, starting around 1980, our home had consoles arrive that would require Channel 3 or 4 to work. Intellivision was our first one. A couple years later, we got a Colecovision/ADAM computer combo. At which point my father bought another tv. This time a small 13″ one that could go into a different part of the house so that I wouldn’t bother him as I played games.

Eventually, when we moved to a new home, that small tv ended up in my bedroom for a couple years. Until the Sega Genesis came into my life. We moved again, and then my parents bought themselves another tv and I was given the large old one. Which took up half my new bedroom. So I got a Futon bed to fold into a couch in order to play games more. Which meant I also never put it into bed form. Super Nintendo, followed by the N64 became favorites to play with friends as well.

Growing into an adult and having a place of my own for nearly the past two decades, I have changed TVs every couple of years. With technology constantly evolving, “upgrading” is one of my favorite things. This Christmas we upgraded our theater room projector. For about five- six years, we had a small 720p Epson projector. It got a ton of use. But as the game systems and games got visually better, it was time to upgrade.

So on Black Friday, we ordered a new projector online. Since we had such good luck with Epson, I wanted to stay with it. Our new projector shows images in 4K. We weren’t expecting it to be such a large machine. However, the entire family agrees that the quality in the images is incredible. Especially when shown on a 106″ screen.

It was strange today to play on the big screen and then take the Nintendo Switch out into handheld mode for the same game. Going from 106″ to 6.2″ would seem incomprehensible in 1980.

What memories do you have of video games? Do you still play them? Have you upgraded your tv or stereo to match the quality of modern systems?

Christmas Day 2018

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I’m not going to write much today. Just going to share some photos of our Christmas Eve fun.

First was our traditional dinner of Fancy Sandwiches, Schnitzel and potato salad. This year, everyone helped in making the Sandwiches. Our youngest helped with the salad and our oldest helped make the schnitzel.

After dinner we retired to the theater room and opened our Christmas PJs. The kids had fun taking selfies for Instagram. Afterwards we watched Aggretsuko Heavy Metal Christmas and Powerpuff Girls: The Fight Before Christmas. An easy way to unwind before bed.

Once the kids were in bed, my wife and I got to work laying out their gifts. And one last hiding place behind the door for Creepy Santa to surprise the kids. Next will be the the start of the big day filled with gifts and fun!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Christmas Eve Close Calls

Today as I was driving to work, I almost got in a car accident. There was practically no one on the roads at the time. I was in a roundabout when another driver nearly hit me. She was clearly not paying attention. Probably distracted thinking about Christmas because she was in a real hurry.

There are certain rules of the road that people need to follow. Yielding to those in a roundabout is one of them. I wasn’t angry at the other driver, just a bit frustrated. But I’ve been on the other end as well where I’ve made a mistake driving nearly causing an accident.

Christmas Eve 1993, when I nearly got in a car accident. I was 17 at the time and my mother had asked me to go get gas and a car wash up the road from our place. My younger sister came along for the fifteen minute car ride. It was probably to get us out of the house in order for my mother to do last minute gift wrapping. It was evening time and the roads were getting frosty with patches of ice.

I was approaching a stop light and wanting to take a righthand turn. That’s when my wheels locked and I slide towards the car that was perpendicular to us. I must’ve stopped inches away from t-boning the driver’s side door. When I stopped, I quickly reversed and then proceeded to make my turn- waving apologetically to the other car.

Once I had turned into the gas station, a police car pulled up behind me with lights flashing. The officer had seen my close call but was kind enough to let me off with a warning and some friendly advice to be careful during the holidays.

I’ve always remembered that moment and taken it to heart. Even with your mind elsewhere, you need to pay attention to your immediate surroundings.

Stay safe over the holidays everyone!

What Do You Call December 23rd?

Today is December 23rd. So I am curious which faction people fall under these days. Do you call it:

A) Christmas Eve Eve

B) Festivus

Or do you have a different name for it? Is it just another day? Is it the last day of shopping? Is it a day of travel? What do you do on December 23?

This year, I had to work. So it was a day of Holiday well wishing to coworkers. I enjoyed the day.

Yule Log

We are lucky enough to live in the country and have a gorgeous wood burning fireplace. It helps to set the mood during winter.

Three years ago, my wife took a really good photo of me by the fire. It’s still one of my favorites of me during this season. We’ve rearranged our furniture- our dining table is closer to the fireplace now- allowing us to share the warmth while we entertain.

For those of you who don’t have a fireplace, there are plenty of YouTube videos of Yule Logs. Here are the ones I enjoy:

Darth Vader burning at the end of ROTJ. This one is on a five hour loop.

Nick Offerman sipping whiskey for ten hours.

Hallmark movies has a cat and dog in front of a fire for three hours along with some classical music.

Crackling Log for a traditional feel.

Let’s toss another log on the fire and enjoy the holiday season.

Yule Be Wiggling

When I was younger, one of my favorite things about Christmas was decorating the tree. The tree in my childhood home was shiny. Lots of glittery ornaments, multi coloured lights, and an excessive amount of tinsel! The green plastic tree was almost silver by the end.

However, around the age of twelve, my sister and father decided to decorate the Christmas tree without me. I’m not gonna lie, that kinda stung me in the heart. Even though I told my family that what they did sucked, they did it a couple more times during my teenage years as well.

Fast forward to the family I have created. My wife and I always make sure that the kids are around on the day we decorate the trees. We’ve even created a tradition for it that we repeat each and every year.

We do all the normal things that families do. Such as put on a fire in the fireplace and drink eggnog while we put out decorations on our Christmas trees. (Yes, TREES- plural.) We have two trees that we decorate as our “Fun” trees and one as our “Elegant” tree.

During the decorating of our Fun trees, we like to have fun- obviously. Our tree decorating has an odd tradition. We have to watch Yule Be Wiggling by The Wiggles! Back in the early 2000’s our children loved watching The Wiggles. As a way of keeping them youthful- we added a viewing of this film while the ornaments get hung up as a part of our Christmas traditions.

And our children continue to love it. All of the songs are memorized. I even have the songs on a cd that gets requested to be played in the car during December! As much as our oldest tries to fight it, this tradition still brought a smile to her face last night as we decorated the Fun trees.

Later this weekend, we will decorate our Elegant tree. This tree has all of our fragile glass and keepsake ornaments. We decorate this one as a family as well. But no bouncing around watching “The Wiggles” for this. It’s the classic Rudolph that will be playing on our tv.

Do you have any out of the ordinary Christmas or Holiday traditions? Let me know in the comments below!

Package Deal

Today, we had to pick up a couple of parcels. The one we picked up in the USA was quick and easy. There was even free shipping for it. We have a PO Box with a small fee for them to hold the parcel until we pick it up. Just like many Canadians who live near the border. Crossing the border between Canada and America is usually smooth.

The other package was delivered up the road from our home to the Post Office. Even though our local post office line is relatively short these days, it doesn’t mean that other locations aren’t busy. A part of me wishes we lived in the USA- their postal system is more convenient, inexpensive and reliable.

Canada Post is finally moving packages. After much frustration while the workers fought for better wages and work hours- it seems that many packages sent out now won’t make the Christmas deadline. Adding to the frustration of Canadians.

In a world of electronic billing, free Amazon deliveries, and instant communication it makes Canada Post quite the dinosaur when it comes to the world these days.

GingerDEAD House

Last night our daughters worked together decorating a Gingerbread house. It was great to see them work together so well. It was entertaining as well because they wanted to make it a part of their “Creepy Santa” escapades.

Of course they made a “GingerDEAD House” full of blood icing. I enjoyed listening to them tell stories of how the Gingerbread people died. I like that they created their own style of house instead of making it look like a perfect match from the box.

Creepy Santa is proud as well. I’m sure he’ll bring them something nice this year. You can follow him on Instagram. Hohoho Horror.