With less than a week to go until Christmas, we're reflecting on our family or childhood traditions during the holiday season.
As a Catholic, I actually celebrate Christmas (like, in the religious way). Apart from the snow, which I don’t enjoy, it’s one of my favourite times of the year. I love all things Christmas - the sights, the sounds, the smells. And, thankfully, my family is a “go big or go home” type of people when it comes to this festive season!
We put up our tree and decorate our house pretty much as soon as possible. Often, it ends up being the weekend of the Christ the King - the church’s feast that marks the end of the liturgical year, right before Advent starts. Usually, my sister takes care of the house - the banisters and any available surface - while I trim the tree. It sounds unfair, since there’s one tree and many surfaces, but when your family’s been collecting ornaments for forty years, it can take a while to deck the halls (this year, it took about four hours, but it was worth it!).
We also make a special cake - sort of like a fruit cake, except without the fruit bits. It’s nuts and semolina flour and honey and jam and alcohol and it’s delicious. Interestingly, we don’t follow the same recipe as the rest of our extended family; we don’t, for example, add rose water because it’s gross, and my dad would never add dried fruits to it.
And come Christmas morn, we go to church (though sometimes we go the night before), and after a big breakfast of eggs and bacon and pierogies and other fine foods, we open presents!
My family and I used to be avid Hanukkah celebrators for all of my childhood, but as I grew up and started to earn my own money, we started doing fewer surprise gifts and more discussed material objects. As I've said before, my family is of the mindset that if you want something, go get it. As time has worn on, I want fewer and fewer things but what hasn't waned is my love for spending time with my family.
As an only child, I spent a lot of time with my parents and am lucky to have maintained such a wonderful relationship with both of them. For the holidays, we like to pig out, watch movies and just relax. It's secular, it's fun and I look forward to it every year.