Ever since I can remember, Christmas-time has been my favourite time of year.
The taste of rich and creamy eggnog, melt-in-your mouth buttery shortbread, and enjoying the beautiful sparkling Christmas lights and inviting wintery wreaths that adorn the most festive of homes.
My favourite memories as a child involve decorating the Christmas tree, unwrapping each delicate ornament carefully, and choosing the perfect branch for it to rest. I loved baking cookies with my mom; the smells, the texture of the dough in my hands, and the taste of warm cookies right out of the oven.
For me, December is one of my favourite times of year. When a blanket of snow greets you in December — it’s like a perfect gift, it fills you with warmth and pleasure.
By January, the feeling just isn’t quite the same.
This year, as a mother to two little girls ages 2.5 and 4.5, this has been the perfect age to create exciting and lasting memories. My kids are old enough now to appreciate and enjoy the traditions of the holidays and participate in them as a family.
I’ve continued in some of the Christmas traditions that my Mom started. We decorate the Christmas tree together, in the familiar style that my own mother decorated. We use funky and unique ornaments, and the kids enjoy cradling each one carefully in their hands (well, my younger one, not so carefully).
I’ve purchased each of my girls their own chocolate advent calendars, and each day they open a door to receive the gift of a perfect piece of chocolate, another tradition passed from my childhood.
We continue in my husband’s family tradition of taking an annual photograph with Santa at the mall, and having prints made for our family. Each year we take out our collection of photographs and display them, reminiscing on past years, cute cherub babies that are just a distant memory. I remember when I first met my husband I thought it was odd that a family would insist on a photo with Santa for their three older teenagers. Now, I expect my own children to follow suit when they are teens.
We’ve also started our own family traditions.
Each year on Christmas morning we open the door to the blistering cold and shout, “Joy to the World, the Lord Has Come.” It’s a tradition we started when we were engaged, and we have continued it, adding our children to the chorus as the years pass.
We also have a special collection of Nativity sets. Because we have always been on a tight budget, we always find the tiniest and cutest Nativity sets for a bargain price. Our kids love playing with miniature baby Jesus, and setting up the scene.
Although I am not much of a baker, I have also started the tradition of baking to the best of my ability, and involving the children in the activity. This year we baked a very delicious and addictive treat called Christmas Crunch. We packaged up our treats in individual bags, and bundled up as a family to hand out our delicious goodies to our neighbours.
It has been one of my favourite memories so far from 2016, and a definite new tradition has begun.
As the years pass, I hope to continue in the traditions we’ve made, both old and new, and create sweet memories that fill the hearts of our children, so that they too will grow to love this season of giving, receiving, and memory making.
What are your favourite holiday traditions?