Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. The whole month of December is just one of the best, & I think that has a lot to do with how steeped in tradition it is. Everyone has their own slightly different way of prepping for Christmas, & I love hearing the different stories.
I like to wait until December 1 to get into Christmas mode. When I worked at Starbucks, we switched our displays over on November 1, & that always brought out the Grinch in me, so now I hold off until well after Remembrance Day. The only thing I do before then is take a family photo & order Christmas cards. We did this particularly early this year since N’s schedule was so crazy, but that gave me extra time to procrastinate on my cards (I’m still writing some this week! Ha!).
The first real Christmassy thing we like to do is decorate. I added another stocking to our mantle this year for Odin, & I can’t wait for him to figure out what those silly socks hanging from the fireplace mean. I’m a little surprised he hasn’t pulled his down yet – I wrapped up his little treats just this week!
Most of our Christmas decor is straight out of the 80s. I’ve inherited so many things from my parents, & although they’re a little on the tacky side sometimes, I actually love them. They’re all great memories from my childhood. I’m a sucker for something with a story behind it, & almost every single one has that. We even have some handmade wool tree & snowflake ornaments that my Nana made years ago.
Next, I like to hit the Scouts Canada Christmas Tree lot. We’ve gotten a real Christmas Tree the last two years, & I don’t plan on stopping this tradition anytime soon, even if we aren’t always around for the holidays. A real tree makes the whole house smell like Christmas like nothing else can (except maybe mulled wine). They’re definitely more work, but I think they’re so worth it. My family almost always bought their trees from the Scouts lot. I love watching the kids get involved in the whole process and enjoy supporting our local Scouts, a program my brother & I both grew up with. We go to the 31st group’s lot at the Holy Cross Anglican Church on 19th Street NW.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without at least a couple parties. This year, we kicked things off with my office holiday party. It’s always a lot of fun. We book a room at the hotel so we can thoroughly enjoy the night. It’s always filled with lots of wine & even more dancing.
My parents also always host a cocktail party. My mom puts out an awesome spread. It’s a great evening filled with the best people, lots of drinks, & some delicious appetizers. My mom always puts out the best spread. No one ever goes hungry at her house. We always stay overnight because another tradition kicks off early the next morning: the Banff Ski Trip.
Unfortunately, this year, it was insanely cold for our trip. Nonetheless, we got up, put on our gear, & drove to Lake Louise. A couple others from our group were planning to meet us in the afternoon. We purchased Louise Plus Cards, & headed up the mountain on the chair lift. A blustery – 41 greeted us at the summit, & we decided it wasn’t worth getting frostbite over & took advantage of their offer to issue us a snowcheque for anytime in the next year.
Instead, we headed into Banff for some lunch, followed by a dip in the hot tub at the hotel. We started the drinking festivities earlier than any other year, which made for a hilarious gift exchange before we headed out on the town.
& that brings us to the final week before Christmas. We’ve got a few evenings with friends planned before the big weekend, but that’s about it for our pre-Christmas traditions.
How do you prepare for the holidays? Do you embrace the crazy December schedule, or do you like to hunker down?