Wednesday 27 November 2013

Festive Guest Post: Trish

Christmas In Canada by Trish

( @tishylou

I was born and raised in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. It was a relatively small town and we lived on the outskirts. We didn't have a lot of neighbours and there weren't many other children around for my younger brother and I to play with. I grew up with 2 of my cousins as my best friends. Aunts and Uncles, grandparents and cousins were always around us. My Mum loved Christmas! I think it was her favourite time of year, just like me. We used to get a big tree, decorate it in tinsel and icicles. Mum always liked to have a colour scheme for the tree. Some years it was pink and grey, sometimes red and gold or blue and silver. No matter what the theme was, there were always a few keepsake ornaments that went on the tree. To this day, I still have most of them. We always had the same angel on the top of the tree and Mum made us crochet stockings to hang up.

Every year, we baked cookies and cakes together. We'd make butter tarts, cherry cakes, fruit cake cookies, gumdrop cookies and tons of other tasty treats. My Aunt used to have (and still does, I think) our annual “cookie day” where we'd all gather with the goodies we'd made at home and then we'd divide them up between the family. We'd also bake sugar cookies and all the kids would spend hours decorating them with sugar icing and sprinkles. It was the BEST thing ever!! We'd eat lunch together and Aunty Wendy's house was always cosy so pretty with candles and lights everywhere. It's the part of Christmas I miss most since moving over here...

Christmas Eve was normally a quiet night in watching cartoons. My favourites were and still are A Charlie Brown Christmas, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street and Garfields' Family Christmas. We'd pig out on cakes and cookies and hot chocolates and then when it was bed time, we'd leave a plate of cookies, a glass of milk and a shot of Canadian Crown whiskey for Santa, along with some carrots for the reindeer. Mum always put the turkey in the oven before bed. When we woke up in the morning (to the smell of turkey) we'd find our stockings stuffed full of toys, books, crayons and sweets and we'd take them back to our rooms until Mum and Dad woke up. We'd then all have a glass of eggnog while Mum made hot cross buns and we'd sit down to open presents. We usually got one big gift each or something really big between us. One year my brother and I got a brand new Commodore 64 computer system, which was the coolest thing ever!! After presents were opened and we'd tidied up a little, Mum would get on with cooking the huge dinner and we'd all watch Christmas movies while playing with our new toys. Grandma and Grandpa would come and we'd settle in, all cosy to eat and play until bedtime.

On Boxing Day, we'd go to Aunty Wendy's again after breakfast and enjoy the huge buffet spread and some lovely Christmas music and family time. All the cousins, Aunts, Uncles, grandparents... Everyone in one house with loads of good food (I'm sensing a theme here...) and yet more gifts to open. 

I don't have a favourite Christmas memory, they were all great. My parents worked so hard all year to make it special for us. And now that we live so far away from family and my Mum has passed away, Christmas has lost it's magic for me. I bake a little, but it isn't the same. I don't have any grandparents to see and my brother is back in Canada now. So it's me, Dad and my OH. We try to make an effort, but it can be so painful sometimes and feels like a chore. We'll see what this year holds, but the memories of lovely family times will always be with me during the holidays.

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