Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Traditions

Traditions give our lives meaning. As a society our holidays are bound up in traditions, and my family is no different. Some are ones I’ve brought with me from my family and childhood, some are from my husband’s, and some are ones we’ve simply created on our own. We don’t have any family remotely close to us, so we really are a unit unto ourselves which is in some ways very, very special.

When I was growing up we always went to the Christmas Eve service and then went to my brother’s place for a potluck style late dinner. My brother is 16 years older than I am, so when we started this tradition it was when I was still very young and he and his wife had started their family. Now he lives in Utah, I’m in Alberta and the rest of our family is in New Brunswick, so this doesn’t happen anymore. But I still love going to Christmas Eve services and luckily our church does the same thing my home church did – we all have candles and sing Silent Night by candlelight.

Dinner at my brother’s has been replaced by one of my husband’s family’s traditions. No matter what the weather, be it +10 or -40, we have a steak barbeque. Sounds odd – 24 of December, bundled up in a parka and boots, grilling steak and potatoes, but its so much fun! We’ve been known to wheel the barbeque up to the back door so we just have to make a quick step outside to flip things over. The menu is traditionally steak, potatoes, onions peppers and mushrooms, Caesar salad and sometimes I do carrots in foil. And we buy dessert for this one night. It has been, for the last few years, lava cakes. This year I think we’re living on the edge and trying sticky toffee pudding!

Other than Christmas Eve though, the holiday season can feel so rushed and stressful so many of the traditions we have in our family relate to keeping it simple and enjoyable.

My girls and I always make a gingerbread house, and spend an afternoon putting it together and decorating. This picture is from 2004. As the girls get older, the decorating gets a little more elaborate. This year we decided to do a train instead.

We are also suckers for Christmas movies, so it’s often you’ll find us on a Sunday afternoon, cuddled under a blanket on the couch, watching a movie, drinking real hot cocoa and munching on fresh cookies. The tree lights will be gleaming, providing us with a lovely light and we’ll be watching something like White Christmas or Miracle on 34th Street, or even The Sound of Music (which was a tradition of mine when I was a girl, it would always be on tv and my mum and I would watch it).

And bedtime on Christmas Eve is magical. Even as the girls get older, they love opening one present – and it’s always new pyjamas! LOL. And we still read The Night Before Christmas.

This year I'm also carrying on a new tradition - a professional one. Eharlequin always holds an Open House where their authors can pop in and chat with readers and offer prizes - and I'm there today, with a hardback of my new release up for grabs. It's loads of fun!

Whatever your faith and wherever you are, Happy Holidays from my family to yours.

Love and Blessings,



Estella said...

Happy Holidays, Donna!

Jane said...

I love to watch "A Christmas Story" every year. They even show it all day on Christmas day and I catch it a couple of times every holiday season. I also love the Christmas cartoons like Charlie Brown and Frosty the Snowman. Hot chocolate is required for all these viewings. Happy Holidays.

Wolfy said...

I love to watch Miracle on 34 Street. I too am in Alberta and your Christmas Eve tradition sounds great.

Have a Happy Holiday.

Cherie J said...

Happy Holidays to you as well! Thanks for sharing your traditions.

Donna Alward said...

LOL Cryna - I remember one Christmas they were golfing and another where it was - a zillion and we were struggling to get the bbq done!

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Maureen said...

Merry Christmas to you Donna!

Nathalie said...

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for sharing your traditions!