Christmas is my favourite time of the year. This is partly because I enjoy the cool weather the most and because of all the fun traditions that I’ve kept since my childhood. I am huge into making new traditions and keeping old ones. It makes me feel nostalgic to a simpler time without jobs or bills or vacuuming. Basically what I’m saying is that I have a lot of traditions that I am fiercely defensive of continuing.
Going to The Santa Claus Parade
Going to watch the Santa Claus parade has always been a big event for my family. We would go over my friend’s house who lived down the street from where the parade passed by. We would walk down and watch the parade. That was always fun, between all the fun floats, people throwing candy out, and getting to see the big guy in all his Santa-y glory. Then we would head back to the house and wait.
Wait for what? Santa, of course! He would come and visit us after the parade and give each of us one present. Ah, the amazing Barbies and pajamas I got from those nights. We took turns sitting on his lap, telling him what we wanted, he’d have some “grape juice,” and we’d scurry off to play with our new toys.
Now to this day I usually travel back to my hometown of Sarnia for the Santa Claus parade if we can. We don’t get visited by Santa personally anymore, but I can’t help but still get excited when I see his sleigh coming down the road!
Watching The Muppet Christmas Carol
I have a lot of Christmas movies that I love, but nothing compares to how much I enjoy The Muppet Christmas Carol. I watch it at least once every year, usually more than once if I can. This is a pretty simple tradition, but it is very important to me. I always watch it with some hot chocolate with whipped cream, a warm blanket, and some sort of cookie or snack. I sing along to all the songs, and I refuse to watch the version of the movie that removes the love song.
Reading The Night Before Christmas
When I was a little kid, my grandparents gave me a beautiful illustrated book of The Night Before Christmas. It also has a little history of Santa Claus and how his image has changed over the years. We started a tradition of my mom reading it out loud to me every Christmas Eve. After getting back from church, I would get to open one present. Then I would usually set out milk and cookies for Santa, but now I keep those to myself. After that we would crack the book and my mom would read it to me before going to bed. I may be 25 years old but I still curl up with my mom on Christmas Eve and read about the clatter that arose up on the rooftop.
An Orange in the Tip of Stocking
Back in elementary school, I learned in social studies about the pioneers and how they lived their lives (or at least the water downed, child-friendly version). I was a bit enamoured with the idea of living simply and humbly. We read about how at Christmas time, the children didn’t receive bright, fancy toys, but very simple presents. The most luxurious would be either a corn cob doll or a fresh orange. I decided to ask Santa that year for an orange in my stocking, so I could be like a little pioneer girl, treasuring fruit like a precious treasure.
Christmas Day Routine
I have a very strict schedule on Christmas Day. The only thing that has really changed about it is that it no longer happens at my Nana’s house since she had to move a couple years ago and we no longer go to my aunt’s house for breakfast. Other than that, it’s always the same.
First, I wake up at some ungodly hour in the morning and try to wake my parents. Then I go back to bed for a couple hours and try again. We go downstairs and my parents make themselves tea and hot chocolate for me. Then Dad goes downstairs to “see if Santa came” (AKA turn on the Christmas tree and make sure everything is put out right). Next I go running down and check out the haul! We start with our stockings, all tearing into them at the same time. After that’s done, I open my presents from Santa first. They’re usually the best and most anticipated. Then we take turns opening the presents from each other.
After all that happens, it’s time to go meet up with the rest of the family. Everyone gets together at my cousin’s house. First, the kids take turns opening their presents, youngest to oldest. After that is Christmas dinner. That is a huge feast of turkey, ham, stuffing, corn, rolls, mashed potatoes, jello, and some sort of root vegetable dish. We all eat and eat until we’re all stuffed to death. Then it’s time to open the presents from the gift exchange that all the adults in the family participate in. That usually takes a couple hours since there’s so many of us. After that we’re hungry for dessert again. That means a half dozen pies, cheesecake bites, chocolate eclairs, more jello, and my favourite: cherry dessert. After that, it’s back home and usually to bed in a food coma.
These are my absolutely favourite traditions that I make sure to do every year. It just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without it. Does your family have any special Christmas traditions that you always have to do? Let me know in the comments!