I LOVE Christmas, it is a time of year that you can relive moments from childhood, enjoy decadent foods without any limitations, listen to music about reindeers, sugarplums, and snowmen all day long, and if you wish wear your pj's all day long- and there is no judgement- in fact I think it is encouraged!
Every year I try and recreate treasured moments from different points in my life to evoke that feeling of excitement and magic that I felt when I was growing up. As Blayre and I have now been living together for several years, we are now creating traditions, and memories of our own, so it is fun to add to that list each year, and look back on years past!
In the spirit of the 12 days of Christmas, here are my favorite holiday traditions and memories!!
1. When I was a little girl, I loved baking with my grandmothers. My Nanny, my mother's mother, is a fantastic baker, she would make gingerbread, and these other sugar cookies that I adored with a little bit of icing and a maraschino cherry on top- every year I look forward to them.
2. Going to see a festive musical. Each year when I was growing up the girls would all go to see the Nutcracker Ballet, when I moved to Calgary we began to see the Christmas Carol each year, we continue the tradition, and have even gone to see it in London, England one year when we spent time there as a family. It is a wonderful opportunity to get all dressed up, and spend time with the family.
3. My Grandpa's birthday was on December 24th, he was so special to my sister and I both. My Nanny makes the most incredible seafood chowder, it has the most unique rich taste, each year we would have a special dinner- Grandpa and the head of the table, and eat the beautiful meal she had prepared. Then we would open Christmas crackers, put our crowns on and read our silly jokes, and he would open his gifts. Every year I miss him, and I can imagine him sitting there, when I see his favorite chocolates at the store at this time of year, I feel like picking them up for him! The 24th is always a very special day.
4. Decorating the tree is so much fun! Now that Blayre and I have began our own traditions, we head over to the market, pics out a little tree and decorate while listening to music, or a movie- this year we watched Elf, and it is usually accompanied by eggnog! When I was growing up, my parents would go pick one up, then we would all anxiously await as the tree defrosted! Then we would entangle all of the tree lights from the previous year, and finally to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel or good ole' Bing Crosby, we would decorate the tree as a family! I love seeing ornaments from my childhood, as well as some from my parents too, it is such a wonderful tradition that I hope to pass on to my own children one day my adding a new unique piece to the tree each year.
5. Movies! I watch a crazy amount of Christmas movies every year... But then again who doesn't!! Here is my list: The Grinch(animated), Home Alone 1/2, The Santa Claus, The Sound of Music, Rudolph, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, The Holiday, Love Actually, and a few Christmas Specials of course!!!
6. On Christmas eve, my sister and I were allowed to open one present each. However we weren't actually allowed to pick which one we could open, and strangely enough it would always happen to be pyjamas- coincidence or conspiracy???
7. Each holiday season, the Calgary zoo hosts Zoo Lights. The grounds are decorated with Christmas lights and you and your loved ones can wander around and take in the magical sights. It is incredibly cold, and I never end up dressing appropriately of course, thankfully there are fire pits throughout as well as hot cocoa!
8. Christmas morning is always so much fun! Unlike the madness of past years, we now sit around with our teas and mimosas and hand out the presents methodically and get to enjoy what other family members are getting!! My step dad is usually snapping shots of this action- I look super glam- no make up and if I am super lucky- unshowered if lucky.
9. Brunch- I love brunch on Christmas morning! While we are wrapping up with the Christmas gifts my mom and Peter are starting up with Christmas brunch- it is such a wonderful feast, followed by a day of lazing around and looking through all of the goodies!
10. Stockings are so awesome as just when you think the gifts are no more- the stockings materialize!! We usually get lotto tickets, and scratch cards- no luck yet!! ;)
11. Karaoke has become a more recent tradition. We rent a machine and everyone takes a turn performing. My favorite songs are classic broadway hits- The name on every bodies lips is going to be... Roxie(Chicago)
12. Tobogganing, skating, and snowman making - not an overwhelming amount of these activities has been happening in the past few years- but I can't wait to relive these with my future kiddos!!!!!!
What are your favorite holiday traditions?