Sunday, December 14, 2008

Top 10: Holiday Traditions

With each year that passes, I am discovering certain holiday activities that have been making repeat appearances in our December schedules. These are activities which have developed out of pure enjoyment, rather than obligation—making them the very best kind of holiday tradition ever.

Here are my Top 10 Holiday Traditions:
  1. Baking a batch of Mom’s shortbread cookies early on in the season. So early on in fact, that a second batch is required by mid-December.
  2. Having plenty of the real, classic Coca-Cola on hand. And rum.
  3. Revealing our library of holiday movies, music and books on December 1st.
  4. Arranging my Department 56 Dickens’ Village on December 2nd—by birthday.
  5. Walking up to Main Street to watch our village’s Parade of Lights, typically the first Saturday of December.
  6. Attending the Christmas Eve pageant with Andrew’s entire family, at St. Andrew’s Church in downtown Ottawa. In fact the same church where we were married. A very special night, where holiday hymns are sung by candle light and the Zimbelstern (the sweetest twinkling chime, created by bells on an organ) reminds me of our first matrimonial kiss.
  7. Trimming the tree with my boys, listening to carols, while Andrew and I sip Amaretto.
  8. Keeping memories alive each year by writing in my Christmas Memories Book given to me in 1998 by Andrew’s Aunt Susan. Amazing how much we forget from year to year unless it is written down. A treasure.
  9. Late evening walks to enjoy the neighbourhood’s holiday adornments.
  10. Reading Matt Tavares’ exquisitely illustrated account of Clement C. Moore’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to the boys on Christmas Eve*.
* If you can find a copy of this book, I encourage you to do so. It is the most beautiful Christmas book we own, and as such keep it out of reach of grubby hands and doggie mouths, so we can cherish it for decades to come.


  1. I love sneaking out the Christmas movies for the boys too. So exciting!! What a fab idea to write down all the memories. You're so right, I'm so crazy busy I will totally forget some of the best parts.

  2. Those are all wonderful Joe Girl! I particularly like the "sipping Amaretto tradition!