family life / mama self care

How to Build Your Own Christmas Traditions

Create your own traditions.

Who wants turkey for Christmas? I ask.

Nobody.

Huh, I kinda like a turkey with stuffing.

But since we do turkey at Thanksgiving, we can try something different at Christmas.

Everyone prefers beef. We are Alberta-born and raised, so a thick cut of red meat satisfies the taste buds: a prime rib all fancy with those fancy, frilly tips makes it extra special.

Just like the turkey tradition, it took me years to accept that I don’t much enjoy loading batteries and building toys, peeling potatoes and chopping veggies on Christmas day. I want to sit back, relax and listen, watch, and soak up the atmosphere.

So I serve Christmas dinner on Christmas eve.

Christmas is for leftovers, the well-cured, flavour-dense leftovers of a roast beef Sunday dinner, roast tomatoes, sautéed Brussel sprouts and pomegranate goat cheese salad, garlic mashed potatoes, and Yorkshire puddings.

This day there’s time to make a chocolate yule log and add a decanted bottle of Chilean Malbec.

After the evening’s repast, there’s peaceful slumber.

We have no choice but enjoy a deep winter’s sleep, all snuggled in bed, with sugar plum fairies dancing in our head, because the carb overload has put us into hypoglycemic heaven.

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Ignore the cultural materialism messages.

I continue to hear messages, spoken or not, that I could always do more at Christmas.

I hear…

  • Your kids won’t feel loved unless you spend more than you can afford.
  • Unless your freezer’s full of dozens of goodies, your guests won’t know they’re important–cause we all know we don’t get enough treats at Christmas.
  • If you haven’t decorated your Christmas tree Martha-style, no paper angels, broken decorations & only the front half accessorized, your tree doesn’t cut it!
  • You haven’t left a fifty dollar bill for every service person you know: your mailman, hairstylist and piano teacher? You must be Scrooge.

Watching a Christmas commercial on cars, I tell my husband, “That’s what I got you for Christmas”…pointing to the Hyundai. (Or apparently other people are buying cars for Christmas?)

What I actually bought my husband was something that he needed, something that he even asked for (perish the thought). Anyways, we love our Subaru.

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Let Christmas giving teach us what is true.

This year has shown us that every day isn’t Christmas morning.

Every day isn’t unwrapping gift after gift. The world can surprise us.

Very challenging scenarios might play out under the tree of our lives.


We can still be thankful for the things we do have, for those we do have, for the Someone that really does love us, that there’s Someone’s looking out for us.


We can learn to give the very best gifts of kindness, tenderheartedness, even forgiveness. Then the magic of connection and Christmas can continue every day.


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3 thoughts on “How to Build Your Own Christmas Traditions

  1. Well, you DO need more Christmas goodies 😉 JUST KIDDING! I am lucky that I don’t actually have to do any cooking yet as we always have dinner either at my parents house or Josh’s parents house. When it does turn into my time I will most likely be doing dinner as you are, Christmas eve and using Christmas day to relax and eat leftovers.

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