It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Get ready for the season with Kent Morrison, Erin Chalmers, Mike Sobel and Daintre Christensen.
The Global News Morning Edmonton team shares their favourite holiday moments — on the table and under the tree — with Avenue Edmonton magazine readers this month. The extended interview can be found below.
On the table?
Kent Morrison: My grandma used to bring her special sweet and sour sausages over on Christmas morning for brunch after gift opening. The recipe calls for a can of peaches and a lot of ketchup. She’s gone now, but every year the sausages still appear at brunch. I actually made them once on the weekend show.
Erin Chalmers: Breakfast on Christmas morning at my mom’s house is my favourite. Not only does she make the most delicious Schwartz potatoes (if you haven’t had these, they are a must try!) but the number one thing I always look forward to is her Christmas Morning Wife Saver. I know the name is a little archaic but the dish is amazing! Bread, cheese, eggs and butter – you can’t go wrong with that combination.
Mike Sobel: The holiday meal that stands out in my mind goes back a number of years when we all spent the holidays at a Mexican resort. As expected, the dinner included all of the Mexican staples like nachos, fajitas, burritos, enchiladas, margaritas (for the adults) and much more. From what I recall, a couple of us paid the price the next day. Needless to say, it hasn’t become a family tradition.
Daintre Christensen: I love everything about the dinner including the big spread, the table linens and all of the serving dishes spread out, filled with delicious food. It’s quite the sight. I love it.
Under the tree?
Kent Morrison: Although not a traditional “gift,” I think back to high school when I had to leave Christmas morning for a hockey tournament in Calgary before opening presents. You’d think that would have been a bummer, but it was great spending the day with my teammates, many of whom were away from home for the holidays. It wasn’t the Christmas I was used to, but it taught me a lot about the value of friendship.
Erin Chalmers: I’ll never forget when I got my teal Norco bike! You’d think you can’t miss a present that size, right? Well, my parents twirled me around a few times, told me to open my eyes and then I just stood there staring. For whatever reason, I did not see the bike right in front of me! It wasn’t until my sister yelled, “Erin, the bike!” that I finally noticed it! I guess I was so shocked that I really couldn’t believe it was there.
Mike Sobel: My parents lived in Toronto and I would send them gifts, but I seldom had the chance to see their reactions upon receiving them. One year I showed up unannounced at their door. Their look of surprise and happiness was the best gift that I could’ve ever given them.
Daintre Christensen: The most thoughtful gift I’ve given was a nightlight with a photo of my sister-in-law’s precious dog who had passed. It was her first “fur baby” and he was a big part of her life. In turn, the most thoughtful gift I’ve received was a beautiful painting of my dog from her.
Staying warm by the fire or embracing the cold?
Kent Morrison: My dog lives next to the fireplace in the winter and we keep close too. That said, we also love getting to the mountains for a winter adventure. Fat biking is a great way to explore. I’m a huge supporter of Long Johns. If you see me in the winter, I’m probably wearing them.
Erin Chalmers: I love winter! It may actually be my favourite time of the year, if only it didn’t drop below -20 C. We enjoy skiing, tobogganing or even just going for a walk. When we come inside, we love hanging around our wood-burning fireplace drinking hot chocolate…or perhaps some red wine for mom.
Mike Sobel: This is certainly an issue in our family as my wife has a difficult time braving the cool temperatures which has us battling for thermostat dominance. I, on the other hand, along with my two sons, enjoy getting out to ski, skate, shovel the snow and walk the dog.
Daintre Christensen: I like a bit of both. It’s fun to bundle up and run in the woods with my dog, then get home and curl up in front of the fireplace.
Favourite family traditions?
Kent Morrison: We recently got married and now we have two families getting together during the holidays. We all live in different cities, but we make it work. My mother-in-law makes a mean Christmas Eve Gnocchi. Traditions are nice, but we embrace every year and the differences that come with it. The most fun happens when you least expect it.
Erin Chalmers: One tradition that my husband and I started six years ago is hosting an annual Kids’ Christmas Party. Santa and Mrs. Claus come by to visit, and we do crafts and decorate cookies. It is the best. The kids are all so excited and have so much fun. The only problem is the guest list keeps increasing. We had about 90 people squished into our home last year. Wish us luck for this year!
Mike Sobel: I came up with a creative gift-giving tradition. Not sure if the kids found it that creative, as it took a while for them to get at their presents. With each gift, I would write out a series of clues that would have them running through the house until they came up with their presents. It was a time-consuming effort but after a few tries, it was certainly something they looked forward to every year.
Daintre Christensen: Each Christmas, my father-in-law makes a creamy vanilla rice pudding topped with warm strawberries. A single blanched almond is hidden somewhere in the dish. Whomever finds it wins a special treat: a marzipan pig. Most however will hide the almond in their cheek while the rest of us continue eating in search of it. It’s fun to speculate if it’s been found yet or if it is still up for grabs! My favourite Danish tradition.