Once upon a time
When I was a small child, in Germany, we lived in a house where the living room had a locking door. We wouldn’t put up a tree. We would simply listen to our parents and Santa (at least, that’s what I thought) through the door, on December 23rd, putting up the tree. I used to be so jealous of my parents to be able to spend some quality time with Santa!
Once we moved to Canada, there was no door anymore. So the tree magically appeared while we had to take a nap. For a long time, we would do 2 naps a year, on the 23rd for the tree, and on the 24th. We were lucky, Santa came early for us, during naptime, and we would open the presents on Christmas Eve. But boy, that was a long afternoon and a very long supper (looking back, my parents did eat very slowly that night), having to wait until ALL the dishes were done before opening the gifts. Everything had to be clean, we couldn’t even leave some in the dishwasher!! (Geezz parents, how cruel can you be, right?)
Then I got me my own kids
Fast forward a few years and I now have a family of my own. Add to the mix a French Canadian husband and we have a really interesting Christmas!
Over time, our traditions have fused and we have adapted some to fit our new family. December 1st, Advent calendars go up for the kids. We celebrate St. Nicholas day and the 4 Advents. I really enjoy having a real Christmas tree, so it’ll go up later than most people. As I write this, our tree is waiting to be decorated this afternoon (Dec. 20). I try to hold off putting out any decorations (except for the calendars) until after my littlest birthday, on the 10th.
We are lucky to be staying very close to my parents. We still get together Christmas Eve to celebrate. We go over to my parents where Santa magically left some gifts for them before we came over. We still have a great meal with turkey and all the delicious foods we have talked about already. And we have kept up with the needing a clean kitchen – no dishwasher allowed – tradition! That is the one time of the year where all the kids actually help without complaining.
Once everyone is settled in the living room, we will take turns opening presents. We are now on year 2 of a gift exchange among the adults of the family, but the kids still get spoiled lots.
The 25th, we started doing our own Christmas with more French Canadian traditions. Santa will have filled the stockings for everyone with small treats and small gifts. Then we open the gifts from my husband’s family, a small one from Santa and from us to the kids. These kids of mine have no idea how lucky they are to have such a diverse cultural background!
We will usually have a Brunch that day. Fresh fruits, croissants and chocolates, the major food groups you know! Lol The kids then get a full day of just playing with their new things while we all relax and celebrate. I try to have some traditional food for supper, but I don’t make it every year… tourtières, Christmas sausage and some special desserts from my mother-in-law.
What about your traditions? What made your Christmas special when you were a kid? What have you kept going on and what disappeared throughout the years? We sure like to add some crafts to our traditions, here is a link to my Pinterest ideas. Feel free to browse and craft on!