Back to Basics with Christmas Traditions

Christmas has to be one of my favorite times of the year. Something about the weather, the atmosphere and everyone’s just in such a good cheer, it’s almost impossible not be giddy. In my family, it was the time of the year when we got to spend quality time with family, since we weren’t able to do so, living further away from everyone. My mother would let us help with all of the Christmas baking and decorating. My dad would set up the tree and then go play outside with my brother and I in the snow. Since being from northern Ontario, we often had snow in November, or even in October some years. Christmas was always a collective effort. Everyone contributed; even when my brother and I were younger, we spent days making our gifts to be able to give something to our parents who had done so much for us.

But as we grew up, we started to realize that we didn’t need as many things as we had been blessed to receive when we were younger. As much as it was fun getting all sorts of stuff, more often than not, we would end up donating or re-gifting some of it. So, some years back, my mother came up with a great idea that we still follow to this day. Instead of suggesting somethings we might like and end up with knickknacks and paperweights, we now go by a system. We suggest 5 things we’d like to receive; but these aren’t just any 5 things. They are:

  1. Something you want
  2. Something you need
  3. Something to wear
  4. Something to read
  5. Something to share

This way, we actually thought of practical things and fun things. It wasn’t just a list of things we’d like on a whim, but things we gave careful consideration to. With a lesser quantity, but a higher quality, we get to spend the rest of the day together as a family, often going out snowshoeing, playing the board game we received from Santa, or picking the movie to watch in the evening. In times where there’s just so much of everything, this allows us to focus on the little things and the quality times without skipping out on too much tradition, but creating new ones. Feel free to try it out yourselves, or share your own wonderful traditions with us. Season’s greetings and Merry Christmas to all!