Christmas Day in Nanaimo

Well, another Christmas has come and (almost) gone. It was an unusual Christmas for me, mostly because things have changed. My family is bigger than it was, and I’ve got a few more traditions to start remembering.

The first of these traditions is waking up at 8:00am. Around here, Christmas starts a bit earlier than in Oakville. This is primarily due to Mr. Collins, who was up at 5:00am, waiting for Christmas to begin. His energy certainly makes Christmas interesting.

Collins Christmases are big events … much bigger than Sowrey Christmases (not that there’s anything wrong with either of them). Waking up to a Collins Christmas means wading through to some place on the couch where you can spend a comfortable hour or two unwrapping presents. It reminds me of my childhood (no doubt in part to Mr. Collins’ enthusiasm).

Even the practice of opening a gift on Christmas Eve continues here. It’s a practice we Sowreys gave up a few years ago (I don’t even remember when), so it was a little strange to open a gift last night. But it really prepares you for the next morning.

Generousity is the word around here. In fact, “give until it hurts” comes to mind. Over the course of the past 14 hours, I have received the following:

  • 1 CD: Harry Connick Jr. – When My Heart Finds Christmas (from my parents)
  • 1 DVD: Saving Private Randy Special Edition (from the Collins)
  • 1 Penguin Shaker (I’ll get back to this in a moment)
  • 2 packs: Ferrero Rocher (3 chocolates to a pack) (Collins)
  • 1 Terry’s Chocolate Orange (Collins)
  • 1 stick: deodorant (Collins)
  • 2 rolls: 100 ASA film (Collins)
  • 1 CD: Will Smith – Willennium (from Jane)
  • 1 pack: Life Savers – Sweet Story Book (Collins)
  • 1 pack: Life Savers – Night Before Christmas (Collins)
  • 1 book: Tom Clancy – Net Force (from my Nana)
  • 1 bottle: Body Shop shampoo (Collins)
  • 1 bottle: Body Shop shower gel (Collins)
  • 1 bar: glycerine soap (Collins)
  • 1 train whistle (sounds like a real whistle, too!) (Collins)
  • 1 Reach toothbrush (Collins)
  • 1 Orange Crush(R) candy cane (Collins)
  • 1 homemade orange bath balm/bomb (Collins)
  • 1 feather duster (I think this was a hint) (Collins)
  • 1 pack: Hershey Chocolate Storybook (Collins)
  • 1 book: The Idiot’s Guide to Personal Finance in your 20’s and 30’s for Canadians (from my sister)
  • 1 book: The World Encyclopedia of Beer (from Allison)
  • 1 sweater: beige with striping (Allison)
  • 1 sweater: light green (Allison)
  • 1 shirt: button-down plaid (Allison)
  • 1 shirt: funky psychedelic black and white (Collins)
  • 1 game: Motorcycle racing (from the Vailmonts)
  • 1 set: bar tools, including bottle opener and corkscrew (from the Vailmonts)

That was just me. (Needless to say, I’m really glad we brought the car.) Oh, and before your eyes bug out from the length of the above list, I would like to direct you to one little detail: a lot of the stuff on that list is “small” stuff, such as candy and books.

Then there was the “collective”: Allison and I. Together we received:

  • 1 bagel-sized toaster (Vailmonts)
  • 1 pizza stone with cutter and lifter (Collins)
  • 1 spaghetti pot (Collins)
  • 1 set: chip bag clips (Collins)
  • 1 set: matching bathroom towels (Collins)
  • 1 game: Sim Theme Park (Randy)
  • 1 pastry blender (non-electric) (Collins)
  • 3 tins: Misty Mountain Chocolate PatĂ© (Collins)

I’m not going to list Allison’s gifts … it’s already too much stuff. But like I said before: “Give until it hurts.” After this Christmas, Allison and I are going to make a donation to charity to compensate for the abundance of gifts. We are certainly thankful, and want to share thanks with others less fortunate than ourselves.

Now, back to that Penguin Shaker. It seems that Santa made a visit last night that I wasn’t aware of (my Santa was very good at hiding things so I couldn’t see them packed into the car). I apparently made her, er, his “nice boy list”, and was therefore the lucky recipient of a Penguin Shaker.

What’s a Penguin Shaker? Glad you asked. (Incidentally, if you haven’t already guessed, this gets my CGOTY award (Cool Gift Of The Year). Back in the 30’s after prohibition was lifted, there was a big trend to martinis. The entire movement spawned a style that included penguins (tuxedos; ice). Thus was born the penguin-shaped martini shaker. The basic shape is of a martini shaker, with two wings, and a beak. The beak has a plug at the end that (when unscrewed) acts as a spout; a built-in filter prevents the ice from coming out. It’s silver-plated and utterly gorgeous.

Following the unwrapping, we proceeded to breakfast, courtesy of Master Chef Randy. Then it was helping Mrs. Collins prepare the evening’s feast of roast beast. (Okay, turkey, but the Dr. Seuss in me was yelling to get out.) I spent a large portion of the afternoon chopping.

When the rest of the family arrived this evening, we exchanged a few more gifts, and then proceeded to dinner. Not much different than a Sowrey Christmas dinner, except that it’s a lot quieter here. (Those of us who remember the Sowrey/Sinnott dinners will remember the struggle to gain control of the table’s conversation.)

After dinner, we all broke up into various conversations. Allison adjourned downstairs for a while to use Randy’s PlayStation, where Allison totally wiped the walls with me. Allison is the video game equivalent of a pool shark — she starts off making you feel good, and then cleans your clock. I lost a few layers of skin (not to mention several notches on Ye Olde Ego Meter) when she trounced me 12-0 on Triple Play 98.

I hate sports games.

Okay, so I’m a poor loser. I get frustrated easily. I like being able to do *something* other than *nothing*. That’s when I get labelled “sore loser”. Things I need to work on for my New Year’s Resolution, I guess.

Anyway, that’s a Collins Christmas for you. ‘Tis time for me to consider getting ready for tomorrow … who know’s what it will bring?

Merry Ho-Ho!

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