What Are Your Favourite Holiday Traditions?

Recently, someone asked me why I love Christmas so much. I was able to give a short & sweet answer about spending time and being cozy with family, but it made me stop and think: Why do I love Christmas so much?

I think it’s because of the traditions my family has come to know and love. Traditions have come and gone as years have passed, but they’ve left memories that make Christmas extra special in my heart. I wanted to share some of my favourite holiday traditions that my friends and family have done in the past, and would love to hear why you love the holiday season!

The photos in this blog post are part of a recent tradition that Stefan and I have made together. Picking a random Christmas cookie recipe off Pinterest, putting on some relaxing music (in this case, Bon Iver. LOVE.) and spending time together in the kitchen, him snapping photos as I micromanage the shit out of the situation. Last year, we made peppermint chocolate cookies that were deeeelicious! This year, we chose this cookie bar recipe and made it our own by adding peanut M&M’s and marshmallows. Do you have a favourite cookie recipe? Let me know, dying to make more… 🙂

One of my favourite traditions fell to the wayside once we all went away to university, but it still makes me smile when I remember Cookiepalooza. My mom would bake gingerbread cookies and save them until my best friend Kathleen could come over to help decorate. We would sit around the table with my sister Nikki and create beautiful, elaborate designs (read: horribly executed and always inappropriate). We would all pick one of the same shaped cookie to have a decorating contest: Kathleen would usually win, and Nikki and I would scrap it out for second. We always got sick of decorating after icing half of the cookies, and ate more icing out of the bag than would end up on the cookies. Cookiepalooza was the best and remembering it never fails to make me smile.

In terms of family memories, we started a Christmas Eve tradition 10 years ago that was OBVIOUSLY so important to me: going to see a musical as a family. It all started with Wicked in 2006 (the musical that started my obsession) and whether on Christmas Eve or in the days leading up to it, I’ve loved being able to spend a day in Toronto with my family doing one of my favourite activities. We’ve seen some pretty fun shows – Jersey Boys, Dirty Dancing, Sound of Music, and even a stage adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas – and even though it was the last thing my dad wanted to do, I so appreciated him putting in the effort and pretending to have fun. This year is the first year that we haven’t had time to see a show, but I’m determined to bring back this family tradition next year… 🙂

The last family tradition is a little bit more vague: spending time together, just the 4 of us. When I lived at home, we would order in some sort of Asian food every Christmas Eve and then watch a movie (White Christmas for years and years, until we all realized we were sick of it and started choosing any random flick). Waking up early on Christmas morning and waking up our parents continued waaaaay past childhood (when it was still considered cute) and sitting together in our pyjamas with the dogs has always been one of my favourite things about Christmas. Enjoying coffee, orange juice (with some bubbly, now that we’re grown-ups) and some Christmas tunes will never get old.

I refuse to let go of my favourite family traditions until I absolutely have to. While I’m excited to be married and have my own family with Stefan, there’s a little part of me that never wants to let go of Christmas morning with my parents and my sister. I plan on cherishing every last second of Christmas morning 2016 and 2017, and from there on, creating brand new traditions with my new husband!

What are your favourite holiday traditions?

PS – Early Christmas Cheer and Things To Be Happy About.