The Christmas holidays are going to be very different for everyone this year. For most, it means no large gatherings, no holiday parties or seeing extended family during what is normally a festive and fun time of the year.
In my household all those things are very much true.
This year I will not be travelling back to Saskatchewan to visit my family. I have a large family, as does my partner, and large gatherings are out of the question right now.
So that leads to the question of the season, what are we going to do for Christmas?
Normally the holidays are busy with travel, spending Christmas Eve with his family and Christmas Day with mine. Then there is more travel and often a New Year’s Eve party with friends.
Without all that happening we have to look at the holidays differently, and decide what is important to us.
For just about the first time in our 12-year relationship we have to look at how to meld the traditions of two different families, and start something of our own.
In my family Christmas Eve is a quiet time where we spend time watching old holiday classics, my dad is a big fan of the 1951 “A Christmas Carol” while my Mom adores “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Christmas Day is when we open presents, have a large breakfast, play games and visit Grandma for the traditional turkey supper.
In my partner’s family, Christmas Eve is where gifts are exchanged and a big supper is held.
So, when we go home for the holidays we get to experience both.
This year, we are trying to meld the two traditions into one. If I am being honest, I’m not sure how well it will go, as we all cling to our memories and traditions dearly, and to let them go is difficult.
We are looking at what is important to us in these traditions so we can keep them and pass them down if one day we decide to have kids, while also starting some of our own.
So, we have been faced with the added difficult task of really looking deep within and finding out what was important to us and why.
There are certain things that just give us warm fuzzies from our childhood that we can’t give up. Funny enough they largley revolve around food. Baking cookies and large family meals both play on repeat in our memories.
We are also bringing in old traditions but changing them for our new family. For instance, watching “A Christmas Carol” on Christmas Eve. Now we either read, listen, or watch a different version of the classic tale each year — my favourite so far is “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” We are also trying new hot chocolate and cookie recipes to find the best combination. So far, we have not yet found it, but we will. And, we are making a big turkey supper on Christmas Eve that is sure to last straight through to Boxing Day, at least.
Sure, this Christmas is going to be very different, my sisters plan to have us all open gifts together over a video chat after all, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of it.
Different doesn’t have to mean bad.
Maybe this year is the perfect opportunity to start something new, like I am. And maybe, it will become a new holiday tradition.