It doesn’t get to be much more of a traditional Canadian picture at this time of year than snow, trees and the outdoors. Well, maybe if there was a moose in the picture with a large Tim Horton’s while munching merrily away eating a plate of poutine.
This isn’t a real trip report of an adventurous outing into the hinterland of Ontario; hiking and snowshoeing across miles of the Canadian Shield and frozen tundra to have the heaven’s reveal our tree for 2017.
Nope……this is more the regular drive to a local tree farm………type of trip report and some of the traditions our family keeps during the holidays.
The word “tradition” short of sticks out here, especially during the Christmas season. At its most basic level, Christmas is sort of a “traditional thing” including many of the festivities surrounding the season.
I’m sure your family has at least one traditional thing or activity you MUST do during this time of year or …………Christmas………..well………..just isn’t really Christmas.
Traditions, depending on what they are………sort of makes us(at least it does our family) take a step back and move away from the craziness that can certainly swirl around us like a dust devil on a hot and muggy summer’s afternoon.
So……….right off the top there are three traditions in our family.
1. Going to a local tree farm and cutting our own tree
2A. Listening to a very specific Charlie Pride Christmas album while Lynn works decorating away at the tree. This has been happening for over 30 years!
2B. The first movie to watch each year is National Lampoons “Christmas Vacation” It’s been the first movie watched in our house for at least 25 years. To be honest…….this is more “my tradition…..”
3. All the stuff that normally goes into individual Christmas stockings, goes into one LARGE stocking( I mean about five feet in length); “stocking stuffers” are wrapped, but with no tags; each person takes turn picking something out; if not their “stocking stuffer” it gets passed along to who it could belong to. It sounds confusing and it is…….but it eventually all works out. This particular tradition has been known to take several hours. But, it causes us to sit back on Christmas morning to relax for a bit with a coffee in hand, while our “traditional” Christmas morning breakfast cooks away in the oven.
My guess is that every family likely has some sort of traditional thing they do or heck even eat at Christmas. You know….“Christmas isn’t the same if we don’t have mum’s special(insert yummy and likely fattening food here) to eat.”
As we do every year, this week Lynn and I went to one of the several area tree farms to trudge through the snow out into the back 100 acres to select the “perfect tree.” Perfect in the sense it has to be small enough to fit in our rather small living room. We always end up going mid-week; knocking on the door of the house and boldly stating the obvious, “we’re here to cut a Christmas tree!”
This year, we managed to have this guy join our outing.
One tradition we won’t have this year is having the whole family together.
Our daughter Sara moved earlier this year to Halifax and won’t be able to join us. So……………the “long stocking” will be a third less stuffed this year.
This morning as I’m writing this, I’m not too emotional about her being away. Come Christmas Eve and Christmas Day…………well………..that might be another story altogether.
But………we(I mean Lynn) went back and forth with our daughter’s roommate to help ensure a version of the “long stocking” tradition might make an appearance out east. Lynn sent her roommate about 50 or 60 pictures of the traditional things we might get Sara for the stocking; asked her if she could undertake to get the stuff.
So………….with a hardy, “This is going to be fun,” our daughter’s roommate(who is also called Sarah) is taking up the “tradition” on our behalf. We sent her money to accomplish the “mission” with the goal to spend it all and let us know if you need more.
So……even though things change and life goes in different directions at times…………..traditions don’t have to end.
Sometimes, the tradition remains like it always has.
Other times they may require just a slight adjustment to keep moving forward.
Monday afternoon when Lynn and I headed out to get our tree it ended up being one of those “traditional” Christmas activities that just brought everything to a much slower pace for a couple of hours. Much like the peacefulness of hot chocolate consumed in front of a blazing fireplace after having spent an afternoon tobogganing down a hill at a local park.
Being outdoors; the crispness and freshness of a newly fallen blanket of snow; the smell of the pine trees; a dog tagging along and running ahead and looking back as if to say, “Hurry up……I’ve got the perfect tree picked out for you”; that wonderful smell of the smoke from a fireplace or wood-stove in someone’s home close-by……………peaceful and soothing to the soul.
Traditions deliver us to something comfortable; something peaceful; something we can anchor too; something magical.
What are your traditions at this time of year?