It’s that time of year again! It’s everyone’s favourite time of year, at least, in my very humble opinion! That’s right, it’s Christmas! Though winter’s most definitely set in, and the days are nearly at their shortest, it’s still the happiest time of year!
As someone who makes their living away from home – mostly in the best country in the world, Japan – I think Christmas holds a special attraction for me, beyond most people. While it’s definitely the best time of year, for me, it’s even more special because it’s that one time of year that I try my hardest to get home and see all my family.
I admit that I’m not much of a family person. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I’m just not much of a city person, which is where all my family tends to live. Don’t get me wrong, I love the trappings of the city as much as the next person. I love going for a fancy brunch on Sundays, or grabbing a coffee and people-watching from the neighbourhood cafe.
But, my true passion lies by the ocean, with the sound of the waves and the ever-changing weather patterns than only a coastal climate can bring. I used to love mountain biking during my university days, and I still do. But, after studying abroad, I realised that the ocean life is even better for me, so I’ve been trying my best to live an endless summer since then.
But, I digress. Let’s talk a little bit about festive cheer!
I’ll give you a rundown of Christmas traditions in my house, which I believe are both quaint and unconventional. First, as my students may know, I’m a bit of a ‘mutt’, in that my mom is from the US, and my dad is from Canada. So, I’ve got family on both sides of the border. That means splitting our Christmas time between the sides of the family.
Christmas Eve is reserved for the Canadian side of our family (my dad’s, if you’re keeping track!). So, we usually invite my dad’s 2 sisters and their families to our house, though, we’ve also had it at one of their houses a few times as well. Before my grandma’s passing, it would always be there. On Christmas Eve, we exchange presents between families, and have a big feast. While tradition dictates ham or turkey, my sister and I are firmly against both, so we’ve been having prime rib for the past several years. It’s one of the highlights of the year!
Christmas Day can be broken down into 2 parts: first off is Christmas morning. This is strictly our family, with my sister and our parents. First, we begin the morning with the traditional meal of cinnamon rolls. Mind you, they’re only traditional in the sense that my family loves cinnamon rolls! Then, we exchange gifts between ourselves, including ‘Santa’s gifts’. My sister and I know that these gifts come from mom and dad, but we’re suckers for tradition.
After breakfast, presents, and then a second breakfast of whatever is left over from Christmas Eve, usually lots of prime rib and mashed potatoes, we hit the road south to visit my mom’s family in the US. They have a huge family, so it’s quite overwhelming, with kids everywhere. But, it’s also the most ‘family’ feeling time of Christmas. My dad’s family is much smaller and a bit more reserved. For my mom’s side, say what you will about Americans and their foreign policy, but they’re incredibly kind! We always love going down there several times a year, but the best visit is always over Christmas.
Oh, I’m running out of space here! Check back next time when I’ll give you a bit more Christmas tips and more about New Year’s in Canada too!
Before I forget, here’s one of the best parts of Christmas: Vince Guaraldi. Check out the licensed YouTube video below:
座右の名”The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.”