Monday, December 4, 2017

my favourite holiday traditions

last week, my friend bob asked me to write an article for his website, vancouver is awesome, sharing about our family's tradition of cutting down our own christmas tree. i was of course delighted to contribute (you can read the article here) but it also got me thinking about some of our other favourite things this time of year.

i think it's fair to say i am massively sentimental - i love ritual and covet treasures passed down from loved ones. i love to recreate stand-out moments from my childhood and find ways to meld them together with new traditions that are meaningful to jeff and i. i love it all, especially around the holidays, and so i figured i would share a few of our favourites here.

CUTTING DOWN OUR OWN CHRISTMAS TREE || since moving to vancouver 5 years ago, we have made a tradition of driving out toward squamish to cut down a christmas tree. we go to the same spot every time (even though the selection isn't that great) and head into a nearby town for hot chocolate afterward. this is by far one of my most favourite seasonal events and something i always look forward to as december draws near. of course it's a bit more effort than driving to a tree lot or pulling an artificial tree our of storage, but the memories and hilarious stories year after year far outweigh all of that (you can read more about our past tree-cutting adventures here and here as well as my post for vancouver is awesome here)

TIBB'S EVE || unless you are from newfoundland, you've probably never heard of tibb's eve. in short tibb's eve is a celebration held on december 23 originating on the south coast of newfoundland. it's a night to get together with friends, have a few (or many) drinks, celebrate, and officially kick off christmas. since we moved to vanouver, we have celebrated tibb's eve each year with our dear friends the kronbauers- coming together on christmas eve eve to drink fancy cocktails, eat a table full of delicious food, and exchange small gifts with one another. it's such an awesome way to lead into christmas, and the perfect excuse to get some extra time in with friends during an otherwise hectic season. (i love this post by oh happy day on how to make the perfect cheese platter...)

NEW PAJAMA'S || growing up, christmas eve was ALWAYS about getting together with all our cousins, being read a christmas story or two, and my grandparents handing out new pajamas to each of us. this stands out as one of the most special memories i have, and something we have done for finn each year since he was born. the nostalgia is strong, but also, whats better than spending christmas day in your cozy new pajamas? nothing, right?

CINNAMON BUNS ON CHRISTMAS MORNING || as far back as i can remember, we have always woken up to the smell of cinnamon buns on christmas morning- a tasty treat to tide us over until breakfast, and something delicious to enjoy as we sat around and opened gifts together. i don't think i have ever celebrated a christmas without cinnamon buns (jeff and i once drove to 4 different grocery stores in fredericton on christmas eve trying to track some down). this recipe from my bff steph's mom has been my go-to favourite for the last couple years - they work well to make the night before and refridgerate, then pop them into the oven when you wake up on christmas morning.

VINYL CAFE CHRISTMAS STORIES || the world is a slightly less beautiful place since the death of stewart mclean, but we are so thankful that the vinyl cafe stories live on. for us, christmas would not be complete without a few dave and morely stories - the perfect accompaniment on a winter drive to the mountains, a slow sunday morning with coffee, or a cozy evening in with candles and the people you love dearly. you can download a ton of stewart's books, recorded audio albums, or individual stories from the itunes store, including all of his holiday albums, or tune into the cbc on various dates throughout december to hear his final two holiday recordings being broadcast for the very first time. and if you have never listened to the vinyl cafe before- you're welcome.  

BAKING || my grandmas most delicious and cherished recipes - almond roca, whipped shortbread, and salted butter caramels. each year i think i will add something new to the rotation, but nothing has stuck - these three are pure perfection. if you only make one thing this year, let it be almond roca- i promise you wont regret it.

What are some of your favourite holiday traditions?