Every year when Christmas comes around, I begin to look forward to the many traditions that I keep with my family and friends. Over the years my sisters and I have enjoyed traditions that begin as early as late November and continue into the days following the holiday and involve everyone from school classmates to, of course, family.
The past few years have seen us ‘retire’ some or our Christmas traditions, some by necessity as we are no longer involved in certain activities, some because we have grown out of them, and others because of lifestyle changes. This year marks the first year that our Christmas celebrations will include a new generation in our family, and next year at least two more children will join my niece Hailey as part of the next generation of our extended family. Including children in our traditions makes them even more special – and who knows, maybe we will soon be bringing some of our ‘retired’ Christmas traditions back for them!
In no particular order, here are the Top 10 Xmas/Christmas Traditions of the Five Blondes:
1. Picking out a Christmas tree
Our tree never came from a ‘tree farm’ or from someone in a parking lot – rather, it came from the bush behind our house! Our farm encompasses a few hundred acres of land including a small forest (or bush, as we call it). We chose many of our trees from the bush, helping mom and dad cut it down with a handsaw and then pull it back to our house on a sled. This tradition has been retired due to the ease-of-use and general uniformity of fake trees – and the fact that there are no more kids at home to help mom and dad with this task!
2. Christmas Concerts
Four of the Blondes attended music school, studying vocal music as well as playing a string instrument. In addition, we all took piano lessons, and Kate was part of a well-regarded local children’s choir! This added up to a multitude of Christmas concerts every year spread out all over the city. Here’s to hoping that the next generation will enjoy music just as much as we do.
3. Helping Dad shop for Mom
Running the farm kept Dad too busy to shop, so inevitably he would end up with one or two of us at the mall on Christmas eve. Micaela remembers asking him one December 23rd what he had gotten mom for Christmas – his answer? “Nothing – she said she doesn’t want anything!” It’s a good thing us girls are around to help him out when he needs it!
4. Sister Secret Santa
Years ago, mom and dad suggested that rather than us buying a gift for each of the other 4, we should pick names and buy a gift for just one sister. The gifts are always thoughtful and meaningful. This is surely a tradition that we will continue for a long time!
5. Family gift exchange
This is a fairly new tradition for our mom’s side of the family – a mystery gift exchange among nearly 25 participants! Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and significant others take part. Will you go home with a 6-pack of beer, a new DVD, or a pair of mittens? Who knows!
6. Handmade gifts
Between mom, each of our Omas, and the rest of our creative family, we always receive (and give!) a few handmade items. Knit socks, tree ornaments, or pajamas, we’re always excited to receive something made just for us and treasure it.
The holidays can be pretty overwhelming sometimes, so it’s always nice to find some down time. Our way of unwinding is to open up a puzzle near the Christmas tree and try to finish it in between celebrations. Favorite puzzles include “Beers of the World” and “Flying Pigs”.
8. Christmas outfits
Mom is a great seamstress/fashion designer and often made us matching outfits. Here’s an example of the early ‘nineties style she dressed us in over the holidays.
Thankfully her taste has improved over the years! I think these dresses have since been recycled into gift bags.
9. The Best Christmas Stockings Ever
Many of our friends and family would tell us about jumping out of bed in the morning and attacking the pile of gifts under the tree with a vengeance! Our tradition, however, was to patiently wait for mom and dad to finish up in the barn (hey, those pigs paid for the presents!), get cleaned up, eat breakfast, and THEN allow us to open gifts. To keep us satiated, mom Santa put together what we consider to be the ultimate Christmas stockings. Chocolate and candy, of course, followed by small toys, puzzle books, a book or magazine, socks (I love getting socks for Christmas!), and all kinds of awesome goodies. They could keep us entertained for hours. Good job, Santa!
10. Being together
2010 marks the first year in 4 years that all five of us girls are living in the same province – and therefore will be spending lots of time together! The second member of the next generation of the Blondes will be born shortly after Christmas, making this year especially exciting. Kate’s daughter Hailey will be fun to watch as she experiences her first Christmas and starts participating in our traditions, and as Kate and Scott start their own traditions for her.
There you have it – Xmas traditions of the Five Blondes! I’m sure you have similar traditions – what are your favorites?