December 26 – Christmas Cheer

Better to Give

Christmas may have passed, but to keep in the spirit, let’s have one more look at some great gifts given, this time in TV history:

#5: iPod – The Office

Looking to impress young intern Ryan, Michael Scott totally disregards the $20 limit on Secret Santa gifts and instead buys a $400 iPod, setting off a trading war for the music player. The real great gift was what Jim had put together for Pam: a tea pot filled with mementos and a private letter (which he later withdrew). Across the pond, the U.K. Office also had a memorable gift exchange, when Tim gave Dawn an art set, encouraging her to “Never give up” on her dreams.

the office christmas

#4: Blank Cheque – Mary Tyler Moore Show

While it was simply an oversight, Mary Richards’ Christmas turned interesting when she received a blank cheque from boss, Lou Grant, as a gift. What would you do? Personally, I would bilk TV station WJM of every dime they had and then vanish into the night, never to be seen again, as I live the rest of my days in some tropical paradise with Mrs. Sip and an endless supply of booze. Mary, on the other hand, had to go and inform the gruff managing editor of his error.

#3: Leonard Nimoy’s Autograph – Big Bang Theory

Christmas shopping can be an awkward exercise, especially when finding a gift for someone you don’t know so well. Part of the issue is you don’t know what they might be getting you in return. Sheldon Cooper seemed to have that all figured out by buying his neighbour Penny bath baskets in varying sizes. When she surprises him with a signed napkin from his hero Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek’s Spock), he rushes to his room and gathers every basket he had assembled.

#2: Santa’s Little Helper – The Simpsons

Down on his luck after learning he will not receive a Christmas bonus and that his second job as a mall Santa didn’t pay out as he had hoped, Homer Simpson had no presents for his family. Fortune has a funny way of turning around at Christmas, though, and as Homer and Bart are picking through the discarded wagers outside the dog track, hoping to find a winning stub, out comes the dog they bet on, in need of a new family. This special was the start of The Simpsons long animated run.

#1: Lost Love Letters – A Garfield Christmas

There are some incredibly thoughtful gifts in this Christmas special. While Odie’s construction of a backscratcher for Garfield was incredibly cute, the lasagna-loving cat stole the holiday by unearthing lost love letters sent to Grandma Arbuckle by her late husband. The funny thing is that if this were ever to happen for Mrs. Sip in the very distant future, a tuna water-loving kitty would have to dig up all my old e-mails to her. Hopefully the cat has no issues remembering my password.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Christmas Cheer

Some might argue that the greatest gift from TV might be the now real holiday of Festivus, from the Seinfeld episode The Strike. If that’s how you prefer to celebrate, I hope your airing of grievances, feats of strength, and Festivus miracles are everything you ever wished for!

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Flavour Revolution – Peppermint

Stripped and Striped

Candy canes are one of many infamously striped items we enjoy in our daily life. Here are some of the other striped wonders the world has brought us:

Referees

Love them or hate them – and really, only a mother could love them – referees are a necessary element to most sports (albeit completely useless in baseball where computers can better detect balls and strikes). I have a theory that refs dress like zebras so fans can easily identify exactly where to direct their venomous hatred, when they feel their team has been wronged.

ref screws team

Sports Jerseys

Many teams out there on the sports landscape feature some kind of striping in their choice of jersey colours. Perhaps the most famous squad to don stripes (or in this case, pinstripes), is the New York Yankees. An urban legend exists that the Yankees adopted the pinstripe look to make portly star Babe Ruth look slimmer, but in actuality, the style was already used well before Ruth joined the franchise.

Clothes

Of course, the clothing industry is an obvious choice for striped items and some of the most iconic characters in pop culture have been known to wear these materials. Ronald McDonald sports striped socks. Similarly, two sociopaths, Dennis the Menace and Freddy Krueger, traditionally rock striped shirts. Some people think stripes don’t look good on them, while others don the look regularly.

Animals

The animal kingdom is full of creatures with stripes, including zebras, bumble bees, Bengal tigers, fish, raccoons, and even skunks. Therefore, Pepe Le Pew, Nemo, and Rocket Raccoon are among some of the popular characters that have streaks. And don’t forget that poor little kitty that always manages to accidentally gain stripes and become a target for Pepe Le Pew’s unwanted advances.

skunks as cats

Candy Stripers

I had to be careful not to type candy “strippers”, which is far more appealing than a trip to the hospital! Candy Stripers are often hospital volunteers, decked out in red and white striped uniforms. The whole concept originated in East Orange, New Jersey, all the way back in 1944, when a high school civics class project designed the uniforms to be used at the East Orange General Hospital.

Watermelons

My favourite fruit has a distinct striped pattern on its outer shell, which can be a telltale sign as to whether the melon is ripe, so long as the area between the stripes is light green. As beautiful as a watermelon looks on the outside, what we really care about is the delicious fruit inside. Watermelons should be a symbol of harmony and acceptance, because it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Crosswalks

We use them every day – not that some drivers seem to really care or notice – to “safely” moved about the world. The most famous sidewalk in existence is likely the one The Beatles crossed on their Abbey Road album cover. Since its release, thousands of Beatle-files have tried to recreate the scene, including the Sip Family… and we looked pretty good doing it.

zebra-crosswalk

Billiards Balls

Solids versus stripes… like gang warfare, that’s what the game of billiards really comes down to. The first player to sink a ball (whether it be a solid 1-7 or a striped 9-15), then works the rest of the contest to eliminate the other balls that match the ball they originally pocketed. At times, I’ve been a decent pool player, but I’m no master of the parlor game. I’ll definitely never be a pool hall hustler!

Barber Poles

Back in the day, these red, white, and blue striped poles were essential in identifying locations where one could get their hair cut… that and the many customers emerging from the shops with fresh dos. Today, the barber pole is a thing of the past. I personally blame the Barber Shop movie franchise, but that might be reaching a little.

Jail Uniforms

Up until orange jumpsuits (Orange is the New Black, after all) became the norm, we associated black and white striped clothing with criminals. This is because the uniforms were a “badge of shame” and were only changed when rehabilitation of prisoners began to be favoured over punishment. That said, to this day, if you want to dress up as a jailbird for Halloween, a black and white striped costume will do.

inmate_apparel

Flags

Most national banners out there feature a striped pattern of sorts. Most notably perhaps, is the American flag, which is iconic for its 50 stars – each representing a state within the union – and also its red and white alternating stripes. Many other countries flags are comprised of stripes, such as the United Kingdom, Greece, Cuba, Uruguay, Costa Rica, and others.

Circus Tents

After American Horror Story: Freakshow, I can’t look at circus tents the same anymore, but striping is a traditional feature of the big top venues. When the Cirque du Soleil tour comes to the city each year, everyone knows its location thanks to the colourful tent that pops up in downtown Vancouver. It also helps that it’s located in the same spot annually, but the tent definitely draws attention.

Flavour Revolution: Crème de Candy Cane

  • 1.5 oz Burnett’s Candy Cane Vodka
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Top with Milk
  • Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

Really, a striped pattern could be featured on absolutely anything. As for entries with “stripe” in their name, there’s the rock band The White Stripes and the Jamaican lager Red Stripe. Lastly, the main baddie in Gremlins is also named Stripe, thanks to his tuft of white hair.

December 20 – Jack Frost

Holiday Horrors

Christmas is supposed to be all about good tidings and joy, but some would have you think otherwise. The following entries are only interested in disrupting the holiday and even putting an end to Santa Claus and the whole spirit of Christmas. Let’s wade together into the darker side of the season!

#5: Xanta Klaus

Professional wrestling is the perfect breeding grounds for detestable anti-Christmas characters. Among those creations is Xanta Klaus, who arrived on the scene in 1995, under the guise of giving out gifts to children, only to turn on wrestler Savio Vega and beat him with his toy-filled sack. Unfortunately, Xanta Klaus was short-lived, with writers probably realizing he didn’t have a shelf life past December 25th. Even wrestling events in the month of December take on a not-so-friendly air, with names like Season’s Beatings, Massacre of 34th Street, Holiday Hell, and December to Dismember.

#4: Robot Santa

This mechanized version of Santa, as seen on Futurama, is hell bent on ruining every Christmas. He was originally created to decide whether a child was naughty or nice and then reward or punish the youngster accordingly. His programming goes all haywire, however, and he ends up believing everyone is bad, leading to the launch of aggressive assaults each Christmas Eve, with an array of seasonal weapons. If Robot Santa wasn’t bad enough on his own, he is occasionally joined by Kwanzaabot and the Chanukah Zombie, with the group being collectively known as The Trinity.

#3: Christmas Time in South Park

The brilliant minds behind South Park don’t mind turning the Christmas season into their own satirical playground, with heroic holiday characters that include Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo and even cult leader Charles Manson. If the bad guys are good, then the antagonists must be really evil. Episodes have seen Iraqi soldiers torture Santa Claus, only for Jesus to save the jolly fat man; Woodland Christmas critters giving birth to the antichrist; and heck, the animated short by Trey Parker and Matt Stone that largely led to South Park’s existence was titled Jesus vs. Santa, and included the two fighting, before coming to a truce over orange smoothies!

south_park_christmas

#2: Jack Frost

What happens when a serial killer en route to his execution dies in a horrific accident? Well, if his name is Jack Frost, he comes back as a deranged snowman, of course. Then, he terrorizes the lawman who apprehended him and the town of Snowmonton (yes, that was seriously the city’s name), including raping a woman in the shower with his carrot nose and murdering piles of people. Hell, Frost did call himself the “world’s most pissed off snow cone!” Ironically, only a year later, a family film with the same name was released and had a similar plot (man dies and turns into snowman), minus all the slaying and carrot-based sexual assault.

#1: Krampus

This European legend is the anti-Santa, used to encourage kids to be good, or else! In some countries, the creature has somehow gained his own celebration night, Krampusnacht, on December 5th, the eve before St. Nicholas Day, which rewards good children. This has involved people dressing up as the man-beast and beating others up. Krampus was depicted on American Dad as actually being a good guy, only trying to correct bad behaviour in kids, while Santa is the true villain. There is also the similar Belsnickel, who has the split personality of both Krampus and St. Nicholas and was famously portrayed by Dwight Schrute on The Office.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Jack Frost

Dec 20

  • Rim glass with Candy Cane Bits
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

A couple honourable mentions that could have been included on this list, had they not had a change of heart and eventually embraced the season, include the Grinch and Jack Skellington. I hope all you little sippers have a wonderful Christmas and get lit up like the tree!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I can’t believe how many shot recipes start with Kahlua and Irish Crème… too many. To change thing up a little, I used Yukon Jack Perma Frost, instead of Peppermint Schnapps. The Perma Frost adds cinnamon notes to the usual mint flavour and kind of completed this shooter.

December 20 – Kiss Me Santa

Customary Christmas

There are some very interesting Christmas rituals performed around the world. Some are truly baffling to me, but if I lived in the part of the planet where they occur, they might seem completely normal. I’m not here to judge… but I will anyway! Here are some of the most unique holidays customs:

Pickled Tree – North America

This is a tradition that Ma Sip picked up from when we were on holiday years ago in Leavenworth, Washington. How it works is that you bury a pickle ornament somewhere in your tree and the person who first finds it Christmas morning is rewarded with good luck (and sometimes gets to crack open the first present of the day!) for the following year. The custom has been attributed to Germany, but is actually unheard of to many Germans. In actuality, it’s said to have developed in the United States.

christmas pickle

Roller Derby – Caracas, Venzuela

I love skating and it doesn’t matter if it’s on ice or pavement, so this tradition is right up my alley. On the morning of Christmas Eve, the streets on Venezuela’s capital city are closed off, allowing citizens to skate to morning mass. There is, however, one snag in this ritual… you have to go to church, which I view as one of the most uncomfortable settings in the entire world. I suppose I could just join the mob for a little skate and then ditch them when it’s religion time!

Burning Goat – Gavle, Sweden

It’s tradition in this Swedish town to construct a massive straw goat at the start of the Christmas season… but it’s even more of a tradition for the townspeople to do everything they can to destroy the goat before Christmas Day. Since 1966, the goat hasn’t survived many times, despite it being protected by fences and guarded by security and even military. The goat has been destroyed through various acts (fire, sabotage, hit by car) and once only lasted six hours before two drunk teenagers torched it.

Spider Chronicles – Ukraine

So, apparently the Ukraine got Christmas and Halloween mixed up, because it is tradition for them to include a fake spider and webbing in their Christmas trees. Spiders are good luck, you see… shame on all of you out there that didn’t already know that. Think of all the arachnids you’ve killed over your lifetime. That’s like smashing a mirror to a Ukrainian folk. Mrs. Sip has some Ukrainian in her, but given her fear of spiders – even itty, bitty ones – I don’t think she’s going to adopt this custom.

Spiderman Ornament

Not that Spider…

Night of the Living Radishes – Oaxaca, Mexico

Well, this certainly wouldn’t qualify as organic. In Oaxaca, residents grow massive radishes by any means necessary, for the purpose of carving them up into sculptures depicting the nativity scene, parties, famous figures, building models, and saints. Not being a fan of radishes, I’m all for an event that doesn’t require their consumption. The Dec. 23 ‘Night of the Radishes‘ is attended by thousands of people. The winner of the competition gets their photo in the newspaper and a lifetime supply of radishes (okay, only the newspaper photo is true!).

Love, Japanese Style – Japan (obviously!)

While us westerners are opening presents and spending quality time with family, in Japan, the holiday is treated similar to our Valentine’s Day. A Christmas dessert of strawberry sponge cake is quite popular, except single women of 25 years or older are referred to as “unsold Christmas cake”. It should also be noted that red Christmas cards are a definite no-no in the Land of the Rising Sun, as funeral notices are printed in that hue and can be cause for bad luck and shows poor etiquette.

Letters to Santa – Worldwide

I’ve already touched on Santa’s Canadian address (postal code H0 H0 H0) in my look at Christmas urban legends, and apparently we’re not alone with giving St. Nick free housing. In New Zealand he can be found at ‘Santa’s Workshop, The North Pole 0001’, while Australian children can reach him at ‘North Pole 9999’. Lastly, the United kingdom has provided the jolly fat man with the post code ‘SAN TA1’. This brings much awesomeness to the commonwealth!

Drink #254: Kiss Me Santa

Kiss Me Santa Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • Top with Rose Champagne
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

In closing, here’s one last interest custom that varies throughout the world and that involves Santa’s mode of transportation. Us normal folk claim that he rides a sleigh from house to house on Christmas Eve, but that story is quite different in other locales, where he is believe to travel via kangaroo (Australia), canoe (Hawaii), horse (Netherlands), and finally and most awesomely, by zipline from heaven (Czech Republic)!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
For this recipe, you have your choice of using Strawberry or Raspberry Liqueur. The champagne cocktail came across much stronger than I expected. The flavour was decent, but I’m still not a huge bubbly fan and as a result, there just wasn’t enough to bump this drink’s score up higher.

December 14 – Christmas Kiss

Tonight, We Feast

While most of us are accustomed to a Christmas feast of turkey or ham and all the fixings, around the world, the story may not be the same. Here are some of the most unique Christmas dinners in the universe!

KFC – Japan

While the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices are famous around the world, only in Japan is fried chicken such an enormously popular Christmas dinner. This was a case where false advertising worked out pretty well. The company stated through ads in 1974 that KFC was the meal of choice in North America and Japanese folks looking to get onboard with western culture followed along. The “Kentucky For Christmas” campaign was so successful that people pre-order their buckets en masse two months ahead of time for their celebrations.

Kentucky-Christmas

Fish Soup – Serbia

I won’t knock it, since I haven’t tried it, but not being much of a soup fan, I feel like I wouldn’t enjoy Christmas in Serbia very much. Unless the fish soup was some sort of lobster bisque or something like that. The Serbs also bake bread called Cesnica, which includes a silver coin inside, bringing good luck to the one who finds it. This has disaster written all over it though, ranging from a choking hazard to extreme dental work if someone bites down on the cash too hard.

Foie Gras – France

If anyone needs lessons on how to live decadently, the French have the knowledge, but they’re too busy sipping wine to help out and teach the rest of the world. For a French Christmas meal, one might find themselves indulging in foie gras, oysters, smoked salmon, and crepes. For dessert? Not one snack, but 13. Called ‘13 Desserts’ and meant to symbolize Jesus and the 12 Apostles, the treats are set out on Christmas Eve and left out to entice for the next three days.

Weisswurst – Germany

Germany’s Christmas dinner seems more like a barbecue gathering and I mean that in a good way. Items include sausages and potato salad and you better believe there will be beer served at this holly jolly feast. For dessert, the Germans destroy a gingerbread house that is meant to emulate the one from the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. I bet you even get to chow down on some festively plump children, as part of the whole exercise!

German Stollen

Curry Goat – Jamaica

Washed down with Red Stripe beer (or at least I hope), curry goat just doesn’t seem very appetizing. I’m a fan of curry, specifically of the Indian variety, but I usually have the spicy sauce atop chicken dishes. This brings a whole new meaning to those ads that want you to send a goat to an impoverished village in Africa. Not saying Jamaica is an impoverished African village (that would simply be foolish), but it gets the ol’ brain thinking and that’s never a good thing.

12-Dish Supper – Lithuania

Once again, representing the 12 Apostles (Jesus gets left out here), Lithuanians are served 12 separate dishes on Christmas Eve and no one can open their presents until every last apostle has been eaten. Okay, I added that last little bit, but for all we know, I could actually be right… I know it’s rare, but it has been known to happen. You know, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, nobody knows how to truly party like a Lithuanian!

Drink #348: Christmas Kiss

Christmas Kiss Shooter

  • 0.75 oz Chambord
  • 0.75 oz Kahlua
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

Are there any meals that particularly stand out to you as a little bizarre? Everyone has their own way of celebrating, but that certainly doesn’t make it normal!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I thought this shot would give me the chance to finally use the candy cane shot glass I picked up for Mrs. Sip a couple years ago (because that’s what I do: buy gifts for her that are really for me!). Then, tragedy struck when the shot glass immediately began to leak. I acted quickly, sucking the liquid through a hole in the bottom of the vessel and promptly tossed that waste of money into the sink, shattering it into pieces. Sweet revenge! The shot itself was pretty tasty, as I was expecting with the mix of two pleasant liqueurs.

December 12 – Candy Cane

12 Days of Christmas

While the Sip Advisor is doubling the efforts of everyone out there and offering 25 days of Christmas rather than a paltry 12, one would have to admit that the damn 12 Days of Christmas song can really get stuck in your head. Upon reviewing the lyrics, I’ve decided to give each item listed in the tune a patron saint. So, let’s warm up our vocal chords and run the gauntlet!

12 Drummers Drumming – Animal from The Muppets

One of my favourite percussion artists of all-time and star of The Electric Mayhem (perhaps the greatest band name in the history of music!), Animal knows how to work the skins and cymbals. His trademark wild behaviour makes him a perfect addition to this menagerie of fascinating characters.

animal drums

11 Pipers Piping – ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper

One of professional wrestling’s best bad guys, Roddy Piper knew how to ignite hatred within fans. He was the perfect mix of cocky, dastardly, and vicious, earning his way into the hearts of millions of fans worldwide.

10 Lords-a-Leaping – Michael Flatley

Whatever happened to this guy? He was the Lord of the Dance… and surely that included much leaping. Apaprently, Flatley is living the good life in Beverly Hills, probably creeping on all the 90210 teenagers and throwing around his millions of dollars.

9 Ladies Dancing – Jennifer Grey

You should never put Baby in a corner and I refuse to do so, as well. One would hope that if Jennifer Grey accepted this honourable position, that she’d bring the spirit of Patrick Swayze along with her and they could perform their hit numbers from Dirty Dancing.

dirty dancing

8 Maids-a-Milking – The Octomom

You’d have to assume that the poor woman went through sheer agony over having to breast feed all eight of her newborns. Let’s just hope her jugs didn’t end up looking as disgusting as her pregnant alien-like belly did.

7 Swans-a-Swimming – Michael Phelps

I briefly considered Natalie Portman for this position, based on her role in Black Swan, but there are other positions I’d rather have her fill! Instead, Michael Phelps gets the part thanks to being the greatest swimmer this world has ever seen. 22 Olympic medals don’t lie, folks.

6 Geese-a-Laying – Anthony Edwards

While I hope to never see Anthony Edwards actually lay an egg, he gets the nod in this category as a result of playing Nick “Goose” Bradshaw in the 1986 classic, Top Gun. He was Tom Cruise’s greatest inspiration before Scientology rolled around and brainwashed the star.

duck-duck-goose-topgun

5 Gold Rings – Mr. T

Thanks to all the jewelry Mr. T is usually rocking, he’d be perfect for this role. And why can Mr. T get away with wearing so many valuable? Because no one would ever mess with the guy. Even at the age of 61, I know for a fact that he would kick my ass… that’s not saying much, but you have to credit the guy for still being a BA badass.

4 Colly Birds – Paul McCartney

I didn’t even know what a colly bird was and apparently it’s nothing exciting. It’s a common blackbird (that’s what they’re actually called) and so I add sainthood to sir Paul McCartney’s long list of accolades. He wrote the Beatles classic Blackbird and seems to understand the fowl best.

3 French Hens – Brigitte Bardot

This broad was quite the looker in her younger days. At age 79, Bardot seems to have gone a little nutty, but it’s hard to tell as that seems to be a typical personality trait for the French. Still, anyone who posed for Playboy to celebrate their own 40th birthday is rockin’ it in my books.

brigitte_bardot

Where the hell is that phone hooked up???

2 Turtle Doves – Turtle from Entourage

Wait, a turtle dove is a bird… what the hell? Half of this song is about gifts of birds… I don’t want any damn birds. I’m trying to rid the world of these vermin. I still pick Turtle because he’ll at least bring a party atmosphere to the organization.

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree – Danny Bonaduce

Surely, with all the drugs and crazy antics Danny Bonaduce has gotten up to in his life, the former Partridge Family child star has awoken to find himself nestled in a pear tree on at least one occasion. Rock on, you crazy ginger!

Drink #346: Candy Cane

Candy Cane Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Crushed Peppermint
  • 0.75 Peppermint Schnapps
  • 0.75 Vodka
  • 0.75 Crème de Cacao
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Top with Milk
  • Splash of Club Soda
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

Do you have any issues with my patron saint selections? I’m willing to listen to ideas for other candidates and if you sway me with a sound argument, I just may give you some credit. Ready, set, go!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I liked this martini, despite how much of a pain it is to produce Crushed Candy Cane bits for the rim. I made quite the mess putting that element together. The drink completely tasted like a Candy Cane and was quite enjoyable.

December 9 – Angel’s Delight

One for the Ages

For most, it would be hard to pick a favourite Christmas. What pushed that particular Dec. 25th over the edge? Was it a gift? How you celebrated? Who you celebrated with? All of them seem so good, but for the ol’ Sip Advisor, it’s a pretty easy choice. Not to take anything away from any other Christmas I’ve enjoyed over my 30 years on this planet, but bar none, my 2010 Christmas was the best… that’s when I popped the big question to Mrs. Sip! Here’s our story:

best-christmas

Mrs. Sip and I had been together for over eight years when the fall of 2010 rolled around and had been through a lot together. Having dated since we were both 18, we’d practically grown up together. While the road was generally quite smooth, there was the odd bump, as one would expect when you’re coming into your own as a person and going through all the steps of adulthood, such as school, work, friendships, etc.

We had also spent quite a bit of time doing the dreaded long distance relationship thing. Mrs. Sip took off for England just six months into our courtship (does that even happen anymore?) and she was there for much of the first year of our dating. A couple years later, I was off to England for my own exchange program, followed by Miss Sip going to Australia for a term and shortly thereafter, me taking off again, this time for a full year living in Toronto.

We’d done things the right way (I believe) and not rushed into our relationship, allowing each other to grow and expand our horizons at our own pace. Our relationship matured magically as a result.

One day at work, a radio ad came on and it dawned on me that it was time to go ring shopping. I hadn’t been thinking too much of taking our relationship to the next level, but at that moment, everything just seemed right about the idea.

engagement-ring

I bought Miss Sip’s engagement ring (a spectacular piece of jewelry, if I don’t say so myself) in September of 2010, sans any help from friends or family. I wanted to do this all on my own and keep it a secret from as much of the world as possible. This caused some crazy thoughts to run through my head, such as “What if something happens to me before I ask Miss Sip to marry me and no one ever knows I have this ring purchased?”

It was a long wait from late September to late December, as I planned to propose to Miss Sip on Christmas Day and then be able to share it will all of our family and friends throughout Christmas dinners and get-togethers. Periodically, I’d take a quick peek at the beaming diamond ring buried in my dresser drawer, awed by the step I was about to take and the journey that would surely ignite.

The only person in the world I told of my intentions was Miss Sip’s dad. I had always intended to ask permission for her hand, but I did worry my secret would get around. True to his word, my future father-in-law kept my secret… and later paid for doing do!

Christmas Eve finally came and I was beyond excited. The one downside was that both Miss Sip and I were currently suffering through pretty serious colds. We had a meal out together before heading back to our apartment to enjoy our first Christmas just the two of us. Sadly, instead of enjoying drinks, while making gingerbread houses and watching a movie, we were sucking back Neo-Citron, hacking and wheezing, and giving up on gingerbread houses, settling for a gingerbread shanty town. We also put on the god awful Babes in Toyland film before both passing out from our medication.

christmas eve

The next morning, I was feeling a little better, but Miss Sip was still having issues. I briefly considered postponing my marriage proposal, but decided that I just couldn’t wait any longer and with both our families hosting Christmas dinners, there may not be a better opportunity to have everyone gathered.

Under the guise that I wanted to capture our first Christmas morning for prosperity, I had borrowed Pa Sip’s video camera and had it set to perfectly capture our engagement. It was hard to conceal my excitement, as we started opening our stockings.

After our stockings were emptied, I made sure Mrs. Sip went first for exchanging gifts. She got me a Nintendo Wii, which would normally have stolen the show as far as Christmas gifts go, but I knew what we’d really be talking about all day. Finally, after three months of planning and waiting, it was my turn to blow her mind.

Things started off slowly. I gave her a set of different hot chocolate toppings and a digital photo frame – I had to have something under the tree for her to throw off the scent of what I was planning. Ironically, Mrs. Sip had done the same thing for me using random DVDs (the Wii was hidden underneath a pillow).  After the photo frame and hot chocolate toppings came my “set-up piece” – a simple silver bracelet that came with the engagement ring. As Miss Sip examined the bracelet, probably thinking that she should return the amazing Wii she had given me, I dropped to one knee and trying to keep my voice from cracking said, “I know that’s not the jewellery you deserve, so I also got you this!”…

Christmas-gift-diamonds

Miss Sip was shocked. I don’t think she had any idea this was coming down the pipeline. We’d talked about a future together, but I don’t think she expected this at all. She quickly responded with a resounding “YES!” and what a relief that was. I kept thinking of TV shows and movies where a marriage proposal is met with rejection. Thankfully this didn’t go in that direction.

The rest of the morning was a blur. We celebrated, planned how we would tell everyone and cursed our colds. The ring was three sizes too big and shortly after I proposed Miss Sip completely lost her voice, but nothing could take that day away from us… we were now engaged to be married!

Our first stop was Miss Sip’s parents to open gifts. We brought over cinnamon buns, but I couldn’t eat with all the anticipation. Mrs. Sip was able to talk long enough to let her parents and sister know we had gotten engaged that morning and we had another little celebration.

I left after a couple hours to go to my parents. After opening gifts there, we were all relaxing when Ma Sip inquired about what I’d got Miss Sip for Christmas. I told her about all the items, leaving out the engagement ring for later. I could feel Ma Sip glaring at me as I continued to aloofly watch TV. She was not happy with my choice of gifts, which was all the more hysterical given what had actually transpired. I couldn’t help but let a wicked smile cross my face as I left the room.

Lying Parents

That evening, I left my family dinner to return to Miss Sip’s parent’s place where I announced to the rest of her family that we had taken the next step in our relationship. Miss Sip couldn’t do it thanks to her voice giving out on her. Another celebration ensued before we were able to slip away and return together to Ma and Pa Sip’s home, where my family had gathered.

After settling in, I once again made the big announcement and (I bet you know where this is going) more celebrating was to be had. Ma Sip got her wish in that Miss Sip’s Christmas gift was more than a bracelet.

The rest of the next month was spent telling our friends about the engagement before revealing to the world via Facebook that we were set to be married in 2012!

Drink #343: Angel’s Delight

Angel's Delight Drink Recipe

  • 0.75 oz Gin
  • 0.75 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Milk
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Candy Cane

Do you have a particular Christmas that you could call your favourite? Please share your story with Sip Nation!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This martini was a bit of a surprise.  I wasn’t sure how it would all come together and it ended up being a perfectly sweet and smooth drink. The colour and garnish were nice and it was simply an all-around good cocktail.