No matter how many places I travel to, visit and explore there will never be any place like home for the holidays. It might sound cheesy but ’tis the season to enjoy each of our crazy families, wonder about old friends and send well wishes to loved ones we tend to only catch up with at this time of year.
I look at Christmas as a season that begins about mid December and goes all the way to New Year’s Eve. Of course there are highs, lows, busy points and relaxed ones all mixed in this period but that is exactly what seasons do… they bring change and transition from one thing to the next with some elements being extremely predictable (like the leaves changing colors each fall) and other elements being a surprise (like the Mr. starting a new job last spring). For the past 9 years I have celebrated Christmas in Belledune, New Brunswick and in Baddeck, Nova Scotia (alternating years, with the exception of one year we spent in Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland) with my family and the Mr.’s family. It is even more important as you get older to put things in perspective and celebrate the entire season when spending Christmas Day with your family is not possible. After-all isn’t it way more fun to have multiple Christmases??!!
And then there are the traditions… the things that just don’t change no matter how many people in the family love them and how many people in the family hate them. They are the little things that making having Christmas at home really “home”.
In Belledune, my brother, sister and I have been taking pictures on our staircase leading us to the basement (where the tree is) for as long as we can remember.
|Christmas 1992 – Dad, me & baby brother (pre baby sister being born!)
We have always done things a certain way that make sense to us that I never questioned until spending a Christmas with the Mr.’s family in Baddeck. For example: we have always had breakfast (cereal at the very least) before going to open gifts… according to my Mom this was the appetizer before the all you could eat chocolate that would ensue. We would then gather on the stairs and pose for a group picture before being let loose into the basement where all the gifts and filled stockings were set up waiting for us.
|Christmas 1999 – Yes, I know my hair is awesome!
We sit in the same place every year around the tree, open stockings first and only start opening gifts once Mom has the video camera set up and Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers playing in the background. At her signal we open gifts! But, in an organized way… we take turns, pose with each gift so Mom can take pictures and pass all the gift wrap to Dad who puts it in a big box or bag as we open to make sure things stay tidy. Not the typical “go wild and jump in” you were expecting right?!
The first time I spent Christmas in Baddeck their morning routine seemed straight out of a movie! The normally laid back family became “kids on Christmas morning”… they were up early and opening gifts without eating breakfast, without posing for a picture and without Dolly & Kenny playing in the background. It all seemed ludicrous to me, but now is normal to me and I have since realized they were the normal ones all along… we were the weird ones!
Last Christmas was pretty special for us since it was the Little Dude’s first Christmas, my brother and V were engaged at the time (they are now married) and thankfully we all still fit on the stairs!
|Christmas 2015 – Little Dude’s First Christmas!
Ever since 2011 (the year the Mr. and I got married) we have been buying the annual swarovski snowflake ornament each year as a small tradition of our own. We wrap the star and open it together as the first gift we open (at our home) each year. The tree is starting to really shine with an additional piece of crystal being added each year! Last year, we added the large snowflake with the small one to match to mark Little Dude’s birth year and first Christmas – these are the ornaments that we will cherish forever with their beauty and meaning.
This year is shaping up to be even more exciting! We are spending the season with both families in both villages yet again and get to be with our niece (Sweet E) for her first Christmas! Little Dude and Sweet E are sure to be the stars of the show keeping us entertained and reminding us what family is all about. I am drooling already thinking about the sweets and the turkey meal we will eat in Baddeck and absolutely cannot wait for the seafood casserole and sugar cookies in Belledune!
No matter where you hang your hat this Christmas season, from my family to yours, we wish you a very blessed Christmas and New Year ahead filled with health, happiness and love.
My shoes for that: Sorel tofino boots to keep you warm through the holidays