Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Traditions Old and New

We were able to get out and about a bit last night for the important things...magnifying glasses and dog food :) The roads are a bit wet and slushy but otherwise fine and we didn't see any accidents. Oh, and I paid a deposit and my tires should be into Canadian tire by December 5th. Hooray! No more worrying about my husband driving on bald tires for 3 hours each day. Now I can worry about paying for the tires. Ah well, it's always something. One good thing is that Zellers has 40-50% off their kids outerwear tonight so the girls can get snow pants. Yay!

So Christmas is coming. The kids have 3 more weeks of school and then they're off for their holidays. And it's the 25th of November today, so I have 30 days to get all my stuff finished, baked, sewn, mailed etc. AAArrrggghhh! Thank goodness we only have to buy for the kids and grandkids this year!

One thing we've noticed about Nova Scotia is that these people take their holidays very seriously! They go all out decorating for Halloween and they LOVE Christmas. They decorate early, play music earlier than other places, and really enjoy a month and a half of Christmas. I'm not sure why, but I kind of like it. So no more waiting until the 15th or 20th of December to put up the tree, we're looking at next weekend. The plan is still a live tree (smaller) with edible ornaments so we don't have to move a fake tree or any breakable ornaments. We will have to buy lights though but that's half the fun, turning on the lights in the evening. Oh one tip, when using chocolate ornaments...keep the lights tucked inside the branches away from the ornaments to prevent melting.

In our family we have made and adapted our traditions to blend in both mine and my husbands. Living here in Nova Scotia now I have no doubt that we'll pick up a new local tradition or two as well. So here's what we do...

We make cookies for friends and deliver them Christmas Eve day or before. Sometimes we drive around and look at lights in the evening while dropping off cookies.
We get together and eat appetizers/finger foods and play games on Christmas Eve. Normally this would be with our family but this year we're going to friends I think. Once home we allow the kids to open one gift, usually new Christmas pyjamas and we read the story of the Nativity in Luke in the Bible before sending everyone off to bed.

When I was a kid we left out a pillow case for Father Christmas, now my children leave out a stocking for Santa. But the rules are still the same...you can open and eat anything in your stocking (the edible stuff of course) but you can't bug mum and dad until 7am. (I remember one year being greeted by a particularly grumpy mother as we rustled and ripped open our presents, it turns out it was 12:30 am and they had just gone to sleep). Then we eat a quick breakfast. One of the children is designated the Elf and wears a special hat with ears. They give out the presents slowly and everyone makes a big mess :) with the wrapping paper.

We eat turkey stuffed with a bread dressing and pork sausage meat and if our son John is over then we have ham too. We love brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, yams, carrots, and gallons of gravy made from scratch. Mmmm..I'm making myself hungry! We usually eat early afternoon and then sit around and visit while digesting. Supper is cold turkey, bread, crackers and various pickles followed by more treats. We drink raspberry gingerale, apple juice mixed with gingerale or sparkling apple juice, not alcohol. We usually need boxing day just to recover and relax, not too much shopping if any. Oh, and we like to sing carols. This year Christmas is on a Sunday so of course we'll be heading to church in the morning for an hour or so as well, which is after all the whole reason for the season.

So that's what we do. Gifts, food and good company. And though we are far away from our family this year, we still have our little group here to love and enjoy our families traditions with.

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