Monday, December 7, 2015


It's the best time of the year! If you asked my what my most favourite part of the Christmas season (and winter in general) was, I wouldn't be able to pick one thing. If Buddy the Elf was real, and was female and wasn't actually brought up in the North Pole, I would be Buddy the Elf. Christmas music starts on November 1 in the apartment and the lights, decorations and tree go up as soon as they can (after Remembrance Day). I realize that may seem a little early, but if you think about how fast December came upon us and how many things you have to get done before Christmas, I'm sure you will wish you already had your lights and decorations up, too.

Now, that all being said, I think I did figure out my most favourite part: traditions. 

Christmas (or holiday) season traditions vary from family to family. Some have traditions that must be kept, others, traditions that may or may not happen - regardless, they are traditions, and they will have a special spot in each person's memory bank. One of our family traditions, was getting a new pair of pyjamas to wear each Christmas eve, one that I think many other families share. Each Christmas eve, we would have the same dinner (garlic shrimp, rice, cesar salad) and eventually, homemade cinnamon buns became a staple in our Christmas morning breakfast. Church was always on Christmas day - after presents - and we always had a great feast with family and friends on Christmas night. Christmas dinner is never complete without ripping open our Christmas crackers before we start to eat, and don't get caught without that silly paper crown on your head!

Over the years, new additions and losses to families make the festivities happier, sadder, different. But in the end it's the tradition and the spirit that brings happy smiles to everyone's faces. The great memories of Christmas past fill homes with stories, laughter and some tears, while Christmas present brings many of the same feelings. At Thanksgiving, everyone is grateful, and I am too - but growing up, Christmas was the time I was most grateful. Christmas to me meant learning my mom's special baking; it meant my brothers had some time off from hockey to come home; it meant my aunt and granny were prrobably coming in from Toronto; it meant I might have a trip out to where some of my cousins lived, or maybe they were coming our way; it meant picking out a real tree with my dad. Christmas smells different than any other season - it smells like those memories. It smells like pine needles, crisp snow and fresh baking. Christmas is having the fire place on, drinking hot chocolate and working on the traditional Christmas puzzle late into the night. 

Now that I have moved out of my childhood home and decorate my own apartment (that I share with Ian, my boyfriend), it is time to make new traditions out of the old ones. It is still only the beginning of December, but we have managed to decorate our apartment and put up our tree, in addition to the few batches of "Nakina Cowboys" that I grew up eating every Christmas. My aunt has given us a Christmas puzzle to work on, our first one! I've got several batches of baking to go, some shopping and a lot of wrapping, and I am looking forward to it all. I am excited to go home to visit my dad and my family in Thunder Bay and to have my childhood home fill up with the smells and sounds of Christmas again; I'm excited to FaceTime with my nieces on Christmas morning and to see their excited faces playing with their new toys; I'm excited to meet my new nephew (if he is born yet!!)

Some of us are really lucky, and have new memories that put smiles on our faces every single year. Others might have a few to look back on, and hold them so close it feels as though it was yesterday. But remember, it's quality, not quantity. Make the most of this beautiful season with your family and friends. Share your memories, make new ones and maybe reach out to someone who could use a new one, too.

What types of traditions bring a smile to your face? Share them below!

dream big dreams, be reckless

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