I’m sure I’m not alone in saying we absolutely LOVE traditions in our house. For us, anything that can become a tradition, well, becomes a tradition. So in honour of the season that hosts our most celebrated traditions I thought I would do something a little different and share some of our favourites. Over the years we’ve had holiday traditions that come from my family and that comes from Lydell’s family, and we’ve managed to merge the two, seamlessly. We’ve created traditions that we absolutely love and look forward to every year. So, let’s check work at the door and take a little behind-the-scenes tour of how we celebrate the holiday season. Oh and don’t forget to share some of your favourite holiday moments in the comments section!
ONE | CHRISTMAS COOKIE PARTY
Ok, seriously our Christmas cookie party is just so much fun, and eating cookies at Christmas means no calories, right? Sometime in late November, we invite a couple of friends over and we make about 20 dozen cookies! We usually throw a new recipe into the mix each year, but we have about 6 staples that we make each year. We throw on a little Christmas music, make some holiday drinks and the entire process usually lasts anywhere from 10-15 hours and we just bake and bake and bake, and then decorate. I also started a “Cookie Bible” that has notes for every single year we’ve made cookies, detailing what went wrong, what went right, tweaks to recipes and ideas for next year. I think the idea is that after we’ve been doing this for 40 years have this down and we’ll be able to share the most amazing Christmas cookie recipes with the world. When we’re done we divide all the cookies up and they last us until about February. Honestly is there anything more fun than hanging out with good friends making tasty treats, laughing and singing along to the soundtrack from Home Alone?
TWO | SLOWING DOWN
Christmas can be super chaotic for us, we’re running around seeing friends and family, shopping and it always seems like time just flies by during the holiday season. So we really value our quiet family time, and there’s nothing more beautiful and more peaceful and quieter than that first snowfall of the season. We make homemade hot chocolate, top it off with marshmallows, throw on the uggs, grab a cozy blanket and just sit on our front porch watching the snowfall. Changing seasons are one of my favourite things in the world and that first snowfall is the signal to my brain that it is officially winter. We started this tradition a few years ago because I realized that work was consuming my life and I was missing….life! We can forget to just take a pause and enjoy the moment so it can be so nice to just slow down and actually enjoy the beauty that is our city or country, our world.
We also love quiet evenings spent with a couple of friends, good conversation and amazing charcuterie. I’ve never been a party girl, and have always loved intimate gatherings over big loud parties (where are my introverts at?) so this time hanging out with good cheese and good wine (or sparkling water for me) is really such a holiday treat!
THREE | GIFTS, WHAT GIFTS?
So a few years ago we decided that we would stop spending all of our money on Christmas. I know, crazy right? We were spending way too much money on Christmas, and it became more stressful than it was fun. So we thought what would happen if we just stopped if we just didn’t do that. If we bought presents for Brooklyn (Lydell’s daughter) and we made sure that her Christmas was amazing of course (complete with scavenger hunts!) but that would be it. We’ve made the decision to make the holidays about people and experiences and have given up the buy to impress mentality completely and to be completely honest, it’s so much more fun, my only wish is that we had done it years ago!
FOUR | CHRISTMAS MOVIES
Does anyone else have a massive list of like 50 Christmas movies stashed on their phone? My goal each year is to get through all of them from It’s a Wonderful Life, to Home Alone 1 and 2. So starting in November, all the way through to the 24th of December, we watch Christmas movies almost every night! We still have yet to get through them all in any given year, but I think we got pretty close last year. My top three are The Santa Clause, Scrooged, and Christmas Vacation!
FIVE | SETTING UP OUR CHRISTMAS VILLAGE
This is the oldest tradition and dates back to when I was just nine-years-old. I remember heading downtown with my older sister every year and we would peek into the Christmas window. They were magical. They were Christmas scenes filled with toys and mechanical magic! I just remember looking at my sister and saying, “I’m going to do that, I’m going to do that at home!” I just wanted that magic in my home. So I would save up my allowance and each year would buy another piece (usually from Zellers!) for the Christmas Village. And then it just grew from there. So from the time that I was nine years old, I’ve been creating this Christmas Village, and I have to stress that it is by no means professional at all, it doesn’t look like any store window that I’ve ever seen, but it’s mine, and it’s a lifetime of memories, and I love setting up each year. Luckily, when Brooklyn came into my life, I got to pass it on to her and she loves setting it up with me, which is amazing!
SIX | MAKING ORNAMENTS
Six years ago we decided that our tree would only house ornaments that we had made. Each one had to be special and hold a memory for us. This might shock some of you because you know, I’m a designer, and I like all things beautiful, but our tree is anything but picture-perfect, and I LOVE it. I absolutely love that every year we find an ornament that we want to make, and then Lydell, Brooklyn and myself sit down and just create our Christmas ornaments for the year. We generally make about 10 or 12, mark the date on the back, and sometimes what our favourite memory of the year was. It really makes setting up our tree so special, because every single piece that we take out of our box has meaning and has a memory, and we laugh so hard when we look at things that we’ve made. To this day our favourite ornament is a “Christmas taco” that Brooklyn made one year. The ornament was supposed to be our favourite memory of the year, and during a tiny rebellious stage, she thought she was provoking us I’m sure she presented us with the most realistic clay taco I have seen. All I could think was, well this is gonna be our Christmas taco. And to this day. That is our favourite ornament. We love coming together and creating things together, it really does make Christmas so special.
So there you have it, I hope you enjoyed getting a little bit of insight into our Christmas traditions, and I would love to hear some of yours. Merry Christmas.