Sunday, December 14, 2008

Santa not so secret

Yesterday was Mr E Man's family's pre-Christmas party. Everyone tends to spread out for the day itself, so those of us in and around Vancouver always get together for an afternoon and evening of drinks and delicious food before the main festive craziness begins. My sister-in-law usually hosts, but seeing as her place is under renovation and all four of them are living in the tiny basement, we volunteered to host this time.

I may have mentioned before that while I do most of the bog standard weeknight cooking, Mr E Man is actually a much better cook than me, and handles all the special occasion fancy-pants dinners. Last night he made roast pork with a pear-apricot-maple chutney, roast potatoes and carrots, spaghetti squash with dill and pine nuts, and leeks with a cheese sauce. Various other people brought salads, snacks and desserts, and everything was delicious.

Other than the food, my favourite part of the evening is the secret Santa. This is an unknown phenomenon in my (much smaller) family - everyone buys something for everyone else. But in my in-laws' family, all the adults buy something for each of the six nephews, and everyone else does secret Santa.

Wrapping the presents for our nephews. Instead of name tags, we attach chocolate letters for each boy's initial - a brainwave I came up with five years ago. Someone at the store that makes the letters always asks us what we're trying to spell.

Every Santa needs a little helper.
"Mine iz G for Google? Or C for Cheezburger?"

Only two nephews made it yesterday, but the seven-year old made up for the absence of his cousins by having enough energy and enthusiasm for a whole gaggle of nephews! (His thirteen-year old brother is a bit too cool). He loved his presents, and his yummy chocolate K.

The identity of the Secret Santa stays secret for about 5 seconds after the present is opened, because whoever bought that particular gift is always so eager to explain what it is and why they bought it. My brother-in-law - a brand new boat-owner - wasn't quite sure what I'd got him, so I had to explain how the radio / flashlight / cell phone charger combo unit can be charged through the mains, by a hand crank, or by the sun - and that blew my cover. Mr E Man got a kick-ass kitchen knife from his brother - who immediately started to tell him how good it is. And the lovely wrap I got was labeled with the name of a shop a few streets away from my mother-in-law's house.

Still, it's a great tradition. And as hosts, we got some extra gifts - chocolates, and some fancy soap. Oh, and the most disturbing Christmas card I've ever seen.

The inside says "He knows when you've been naughty". Yikes!

I love my in-laws.


  1. That card is disturbing! Glad the festivities are starting off well :)

  2. We had a Secret Santa when I was doing my PhD. I got our Welsh head of department, so bought him an inflatable sheep. I didn't leap up and explain how it worked.

  3. that sounds nice.

    I am trying not to freak out about a very unorthodox Christmas this year but I am mumbling to myslef "rest and good homemade food with no people almost is good nice and captures the Xmas feeling". Right? ;)

    I don't think I've been that bad as the card suggests though... maybe one little pressie will find its way to me...

  4. Thanks, SG!

    Bob, very wise. You'd better hope he doesn't stumble across this blog though.

    Chall, I hope Santa is good to you and you enjoy your unorthodox Christmas! When is your trip home - February, right?

  5. That really is a disturbing card.

    Sounds like a great party and gift exchange, though! Your husband sounds like mine in some ways--mine is also a gourmet cook who takes care of holiday and special events dinners (although I usually do the mundane weekday cooking).

    Hey, and thanks for the "post of the week" award! Very cool! (I love the comments of the week, too!

  6. Wahoo - comment of the week!

    Sounds like a fabulous early Christmas get together. You have been blessed with awesome in-laws!

  7. Haha! I love that card. The chocolate letters are such a cute idea. I wish we were doing Secret Santa here in the department, but I wasn't about to be the one to suggest it!

  8. OMG, that card!!!!
    Men that cook? I'll put that on my wish list

  9. Bean-Mom, are we living parallel lives or what?! (Hence the post of the week award - you described my experiences better than I could myself!).

    Mermaid, yeah, they're awesome. Maybe they can adopt your hubby so you get to enjoy them too?

    UR, secret Santa for colleagues is a different kettle of fish altogether! Everyone tends to end up with fairly bland presents such as soaps and candles... it is kinda fun though. Last year I got some yummy chocolates, but we didn't do anything this year.

    UHDD, I believe that you can buy conversion packs for men that don't cook. Buyer beware though - my Mum once bought my Dad a wok, a cookbook and some lessons, but I don't think he ever used the wok!

  10. CAth> yes, February. (I just counted the days since I am planning what to do before I leave.... ehh... let's just say I did not count Xmas week :) )

    Have a safe trip and enjoy the mother land!!! Try and sleep some on the flight since it will be gruesome otherwise.

    lots of xmas love :)


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