Almost everyone we know grew up with their own Christmas traditions. When you ask them why they do something, the answer is usually along the lines of, “because that’s how it’s always been.” Now that we are married we want to start our own traditions — taking some from his family and some from ours, we are hoping to find the perfect “this is how we do it” for us. We thought we would share some of our traditions with you all and we’d love if you shared some of yours with us! It’s never too late or too early to add a new holiday activity to our repertoire.
Countdown to CHRISTMAS
Skating or a Family Hockey Game – we both grew up with this tradition so it was a no-brainer to keep this one going!
Gingerbread House Competition – now this event can get a little heated especially when the guys start hitting up the toolshed for supplies.
I told you it gets serious.
On Christmas Eve we go to a candlelight service. Afterwards we get to open up one gift — it’s always pajamas. Always. Then we watch our favorite Christmas movie. Quite obviously, Home Alone.
Christmas morning is stockings and the Christmas story before we open our remaining gifts. It’s always waffles for breakfast. Next Mark and I jump in the car and make the 3 hour drive to his hometown where we exchange presents with his immediate family before heading off to Meier Family Christmas. They have the best gift exchange and it’s always entertaining right down to the last person!
Depending where we are spending Christmas, we tend to focus on a few main things, family, food, and wine. In the past couple years, we usually alternate between a vacation spot (mainly Palm Springs) and Regina, Saskatchewan. Now that all my siblings are older, we don’t always get the opportunity to spend Christmas all together, but when we do, it tends to be far too much fun for anyone to handle.
Growing up, we typically celebrated Christmas on the 24th at my Baba and Jeja’s (Ukrainian Grandma and Grandpa) with a giant Ukrainian feast with all our family. Traditionally, this would include 12-meatless dishes; however, being that we are Saskatchewan savages, there was always bacon. Now that my Baba has aged, we don’t celebrate the same way, but we do still make a large meal on Christmas Eve, and reminisce over the years before. And by large meal, I mean really large; we like to spend our Christmas in a food coma.
Along with the food, like I mentioned, we often end up enjoying a couple (never too many) bottles of good wine, followed with either card games or general conversing. This is a given no matter where we are spending Christmas.
Since we were young, Christmas morning has been the time when we open gifts. This too has changed as we’ve grown up, however, we still do a Secret Santa sibling/partners gift exchange. The morning is usually followed with family breakfast in our pajamas, coffee, and a continuation of the previous nights conversation. Christmas day tends to be the most laid back day, with very little agenda.
Boxing Day is always included in our Christmas plans, mainly because of the World Junior Hockey Championship that starts on the 26th. Admittedly I am a bad Canadian as I grew up not knowing how to skate, nor enjoying hockey; now that I am married to a hockey fanatic, I have learned to appreciate the sport much more. Majority of my family have always been hockey fans, so needless to say, the World Juniors was always a big deal, especially with the Canadian and USA rivalry.
Not necessarily part of “Christmas” traditions, but our Christmas holiday continues through to the New Year. Usually between the the 26th to the 31st we are visiting the rest of our families in every corner we can reach in western Canada, but when the 31st comes, we head to the mountains. For majority of my previous New Year celebrations, we are in the Rockies with family or friends (as Amber and I have planned in the past), and this year is no different; we will be spending our time in Kimberly Alpine Resort in British Colombia, skiing and ringing in the New Year.