I love all the holidays. I am a sucker for food, family, costumes, decorating: anything that has a party vibe. However, the Christmas holidays are by far my favourite. It may have something to do with growing up with the ‘Griswolds’. My parents would decorate the house from top to bottom, inside and out. There would be an EPIC back yard hockey game. My mother and my grandmother would bake enough Christmas cookies to feed a small city, or two. In all this ‘It’s a Wonderful Life-isms’, by far my favourite is the tradition of my parents hosting the neighbourhood open house every Christmas Eve…I LOVED IT! My parents had the cheesy fake wood veneer bar in the burgundy carpet-adorned basement. My dad would mix drinks and spin the 8 tracks. That was until I became a bartender and the cheesy bar became all mine. All in all, the holidays growing up for me were all about us kids.
It is not surprising that all my family’s traditions are the ones I grew up with.
I love my home and I so look forward to dressing it up for the holidays. I just can’t wait until Halloween and Thanksgiving are over so I can get into the basement and dust off the Christmas decorations. Finding a home for all the sparkle and family treasures, it is like my own special Christmas morning.
The cookie baking tradition is by far my favourite, although it means a lot of mess. As messy as this tradition is, my controlling, neat-freak OCD side goes nuts. Two of my four children have November birthdays so ‘Christmas Cookie Baking Parties’ have always been a staple in our home. Sprinkles, icing and flour OH MY! All worth it to see the sticky finger licking kids, covered in flour and green sprinkles smiling and laughing while learning in the kitchen. This tradition encompasses so many amazing things I would never trade it for a perfectly clean house. And the best part of all is the amazing smell of cookies baking! I love how just the familiar scent of holiday cookies in the oven can instantly make me feel like I’m right back there in my childhood home, helping my mom and grandma bake dozens upon dozens of cookies.
Following in my father’s footsteps, my husband and I have always opened our home every Christmas Eve to our family and neighbours. On a ‘pop-in-if-you-can’ type of invite, it is always an amazing night. I love to have fun with it and do a ‘naughty and nice list’ table cloth; it’s a simple and very inexpensive way of making your guests feel special and adding whimsy to your party. This night is full of joy, sharing, anticipation and the best part – it ends early. People start coming by around 4:00 and all are gone by around 9 to get ready for the big guys’ appearance. I have met so many amazing people because of this tradition. There is something very special about sharing your home with friends and strangers alike.
Finally, the season really is all about the kids. We all know the kids love the ‘Big Guy’ so why not make him the star of your party? Every Christmas Eve my computer transforms into the NORAD Santa Tracker and it is a HUGE hit with the kids. They love to check in and see where he is delivering his toys, watch the videos and see how long before he works his way into our time zone. This way all the kids can scurry home, leave out their cookies and carrots, and make sure all the Elves are nestled in their beds. On Christmas morning my favourite tradition is the single mandarin orange in the toe of each stocking. The smell takes me back to my childhood and brings back so many wonderful holiday memories.
Regardless of how you celebrate the holidays or what holidays you celebrate, the most important thing is to surround yourself with those who matter. That is truly the greatest gift.
In keeping with the holiday spirit and gift giving, to help you make more wonderful holiday memories. I am giving away a weekend at Olde Bridge Place, my country Inn in the heart of Mennonite country beside the last covered bridge in West Montrose, Ontario. Known as the Kissing Bridge.
Your weekend of memory making will include 2 nights in the Kissing Bridge suite. A fabulous 2 room suite with king size bed , full kitchen and living room. A Cozy fireplace and your very own private porch over looking the Grand River and so close to the Kissing Bridge you can almost touch it. Also included is a delicious farm style breakfast for both mornings that you prepare at you leisure in your suite.
Good Luck …and I can’t wait to be part of your holiday memories.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post is sponsored by Pine-Sol. With a strong heritage and long legacy, Pine-Sol is a long-standing tradition in many Canadian homes. Apart from the classic pine scent, Pine-Sol is also available in a variety of long-lasting scents – mandarin sunrise, lavender, lemon and sparkling wave. The smell of pine and mandarin always remind me of the holidays! So, you can use different scents throughout your home to change the mood too.
Over the past 8 years I have had the pleasure of working on some amazingly cool and fun projects. I have worked with incredible brands, celebrities and in many different places all over the world…As many people tell me… I have a pretty cool gig…
This past spring I received a call from an unlikely source. A couple of engineers from the University of Waterloo wanted to talk to me.
Ummm…do they know that I don’t do MATH?
Turns out this odd voicemail has turned into one of the funnest (it’s a word)…Most creative projects I have every had the opportunity to work on.
Co- Founders Bryan and Jason were a world away in China with an idea, an ugly prototype and the dream of creating a single serve cocktail machine… There was only one problem…
They had no idea how to create a delicious cocktail…
I don’t do Math and they didn’t do Cocktails…
After many 4 am texting, email and skype sessions…At this time we had never actually met and they were a ‘day away’ in China with sketchy internet so it made for some fun brainstorming sessions…..Along with the lovely Nadia our flavor development guru…we have created something FABOOSH and unique.
Combining the world of technology (the ‘Math’ doers) with the world of Mixology we created Bartesian… The Ultimate Cocktail Machine…
Bartesian is a single serve cocktail machine that makes a fresh, FABOOSH tasting cocktail every time…
For the record..I did A LOT of MATH…
Nadia and myself worked in the Lab for weeks, measuring, mixing, tasting, tweaking, perfecting the flavor profiles for these cocktails…
It was a tough job but somebody had to do it. Let’s just say that we were very popular with her co-workers …It was not hard to find tasting volunteers…
In the end…We created 6 FABOOSH Bartesian cocktails…all of which I am proud to put my name on and would serve to any of my guests. If you know anything about me or what I do…If they tasted like ASS..I would have no part of it.
It was really important that each cocktail tasted fresh and “REAL” every time. We used all fresh juices, the capsules are NOT powder. We sourced all natural flavors and premium bitters. Don’t believe me? Come on over and we can do a blind taste test…We may have to do it several times to make sure we get it right and it’s always more accurate with Disco music playing in the background…
Just ask Amy one of our many taste testers…
If you want to know more about this FABOOSH new project I am a part of..feel free to email me or comment below. Check out Bartesian on Kickstarter !! You will find all the information there along with some more really cool videos and how to become a backer…
HUGE CONGRATS to the amazing Bartesian Team… Everyone , math doers and cocktail doers alike are so very excited and proud of everyone for all their hard work..
This past summer my neighbor was over served at a local pub, went home, fell down the stairs and died. It was a horrible, senseless and preventable tragedy that tore a family apart.
So when RIDE Checks asked me to be a part of their campaign this year…Just like not dhttp://www.cocktaildeeva.com/wp-admin/post-new.phprinking and driving…it was a NO BRAINER.
Over serving at restaurants and bars happens all too often. Bar owners, servers and bartenders all want to make the customer happy. Let’s face it, telling someone they have had too much to drink is uncomfortable at best. Also let’s not forget the money making aspect of this.
In 1972 the Supreme Court of Canada decided there was a “special relationship” between a bar and it’s patrons because: as stated on Canada Safety Council.org
“The bar “invites” the patron to use its premises to buy and drink alcohol. There is a duty or responsibility on the bar to ensure that there is no “foreseeable” harm that occurs to the patron because of what the bar does (serving alcohol to a patron when he is visibly intoxicated and then ejecting him) and what it fails to do (take preventative steps – offer a ride or call a taxi or police).”
Establishments now have a “Duty of Care” for it’s patrons.
So what happens when you invite people into your home to consume alcohol? Do you as, the host, have a ‘duty of care’? Does your home or office party fall under the ‘special relationship law’?
What exactly is a ‘socialhost?”
A definition could include anyone who: as per Canada Safety Council.org
1. is not selling or supplying alcohol for profit;
2. is not an employer, or any position in which he or she has a unique relationship with his or her guests; and
is serving alcohol or condoning the service/consumption of alcohol on premises over which he or she has control.
Then there is the whole B.Y.O.B issue. Are you liable if people bring their own booze?
Unfortunately there is no exact answer. This whole area is as grey as it gets. However there have been many people successfully sued and found liable as a ‘social host’.
The real question is, how can you protect yourself this holiday season and really have your guests “Party Safe”?
Here are my tips for being a responsible Social Host…
As the host, don’t over serve yourself. Limit your alcohol consumption throughout the party in order to pay closer attention to your guests.
Avoid a self serve bar. I am all for hiring a bartender for the evening who has alcohol training.
Have MANY non-alcoholic selections. Create a signature Mocktail Punch for the evening.
Say hi and bye! This one is SO important. Greet all your guests to get a feel for if they have already been drinking. Say bye to EVERY single person that leaves your home to gauge how they are acting and see if maybe they need a alternate ride home.
Have a spare bed or a couch.
Only TIME will sober someone up. Not coffee or a slice of pizza or cold shower. It’s all about how much alcohol is in the blood stream.
One last thing to remember…If you have a guest that you feel is intoxicated and they refuse to take a taxi and insist on driving. You MUST call the police. It may seem dramatic but it is your ‘Duty of Care’ to do so. Imagine how dramatic an accident would be.
For more great Party Safe ideas and to learn more about RIDE Checks check out their website www.ridechecks.com
For more information on who, how and when you are liable as a ‘Social Host’ be sure to check out www.canadasafetycouncil.org/traffic-safety/social-host-liability