My Traditions of Christmas

An ornament depicting a snowman, adorning a Ch...
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I woke up to the smell of burnt toast. Either I am having a stroke or someone left the bread in to long. I roll over to check the time… 8:30 AM. According to my standards, that is not sleeping in but that is all I can muster until the stresses leave my head. Two more days, maybe three. The stress of life, work, school, friends and family weigh heavy on me. It is like I am the mom of everything. I have to admit, it is easier this year. I have simplified, used honesty in a way that leaves nothing for assumptions to be misconstrued. I don’t have all my ducks in a row yet, but that is coming. Things are better than I had hoped for but not quite as fabulous as I wished for.

I finish reading Room by Emma Donoghue. It was compelling. All from the perspective of a 5 year old. As an educator of preschoolers, it made me think about them from an interesting perspective. But now it’s done and I need more books. I have a huge list for download, but I need to wait until after Christmas.

I roll out of bed because my tummy is rumbling. I ignore it to hop into the shower and indulge in the fancy soaps. It is Christmas Eve and the family festivities begin tonight.

As a kid I remember driving down from Yellowknife with dad trying to keep the Blizzard on our tail. We planned to sleep in Peace River, but Mom was worried we would be stuck there for Christmas Morning. So we kept moving. My brother (4) and I (6) were dressed in our jammies for the very long drive to Edmonton. We were armed with pillows, blankets and teddies. I remember the dark, but that is nothing new I lived in the Arctic. It was always dark, not really knowing the time by the light of the sun unless it was noon. Looking out the window as we drove, I saw swirling snow and dark. These were the days before electronics in the car. Mom couldn’t read to us because a flashlight would bother dad.  So we slept.

When we woke up it was still dark. But I remembered Granny’s house! It was just like I remembered from a 100 years ago or summertime, both were a long way away. Mom tried the side door, Grandpa left it open for us. We snuck in quietly, but not quietly enough I guess. In the living room we turned on the Christmas lights, placed gifts under the tree and waited. Granny came into the living room and there we were under the tree for her Christmas present. Her face was happy and so was mom’s. Somehow we went back to sleep to wait for Christmas Eve to come.

I reflect on traditions of my past and tried to incorporate the ones I loved into my Christmas present. Christmas Eve dinner use to be Chinese food out, but now it is at my brother’s house. I like that better. Opening one gift on Christmas Eve use to mean lunch with my dad’s parents and my beloved Gram, but that changed too. Now my kids get to open their gift from their brother who lives in Australia. They like that better. Opening stockings first, while dad had breakfast. We still open stockings first, while mom (me) makes her coffee. I like that better. Then opening gifts, one at a time to stretch out Christmas and share in what each other received. I liked that best and so does my son. The same tradition continues. Dinner no longer is at my Granny’s, it moved to my mom’s and now my sister and I take turns. I like it better at her house and she likes it better at mine.

The feeling is the same. Warm and comfortable, wishing others could join us but knowing they are far away and can’t. Memories of them will have to do.

As I look out my kitchen window to the small snow piles and warm air outside, I am thankful the weather is nicer than last year. I think about Christmas at Walt Disney World and loved swimming outside on New Years Eve. I love the dark at Christmas. It makes the lights shine and the ice sparkle. For the first time in years I found the Christmas Spirit. I realize I am not the old me, but the new and improved me. The Edmonton Tourist Tradition continues…

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family who celebrate, and best wishes for all of you who don’t.

Love The Edmonton Tourist aka Robyn

Shhhh be wery wery qwiet, it’s Secwet Santa time!

Roll on Christmas Break! I submitted my last assignment and can now kick back a relax. Say it with me, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. What a relief! So that gives me 12 days to bake, shop, wrap and party Christmas style. I baked a bit yesterday and brought some into work to share with my team. It has been a very long time since I was stress free enough to think about baking and actually enjoy it!

I brought in shortbread, placed it on the table and invited the team  to indulge. A gal at work picks up a cookie and says very wide eyed “but they aren’t burnt!” Um no, I wouldn’t have shared those ones.

12 days until Christmas. I need to mark in a way that it will be memorable! I could buy geese a laying or Lords a Leaping, but how do you pack those away after Christmas? Storage has become a big issue for me.

I think I will try to make an effort to participate in “something” Christmasy every day until Christmas Eve, but I need help to come up with something everyday!

1. Bring in Shortbread to share

2. Go to an Oilers Hockey Game ( It’s Christmasy, Seasons Greeting is written on the ice!)

Okay, that’s two things on my list. CLEARLY I need a nap. I need to refresh or reboot or something.

Or maybe I will participate in Random Acts of Christmas. I think I might end up being a secret Santa. I could pick on someone unsuspecting, someone who doesn’t read this blog (I know what you are thinking, who doesn’t read this blog? Thanks for the ego boost!) I will have to do it in a way they won’t suspect me. I may need to be a secret Santa to myself so they won’t be too suspicious. I can do it, I am sneaky enough – right mom?

Years ago I participated in a Secret Santa event at my first real job. Real because it was in my chosen profession. Now THAT was a fun Christmas! I pick a name of a gal I didn’t know. She was new to the place. The plan was to give a gift or special treat every day without her suspecting it was from me. I tried to be incredibly creative! I bought pencils with her name on it, I made treats and wrapped them in unusual boxes, I gave her a pez, some chocolate, a hot wheel of her dream car, I made her a tape with great and unusual Christmas songs, and I hid these items all over the office. She had to read clues to figure out where these things were. I stuffed notes in balloons and attached a thumb tack on a string. I wrote messages in mirror image. This was WAY more fun for me I’m sure, then it was for her. She told me it went a long way to making her feel welcome at this new place. Thinking about her gave me an idea.

As you all know I embarked on a new adventure this fall. Not only did I go back to University, but I accepted the challenge of working with a new team. For those who know me and those who don’t, I can be a little lot bossy. I am working with new team members who don’t read this blog. I hope to ease them in and show them I can be kind too – not just bossy! So I am going to confess right now to being the Secret Santa. (Trophi Girl and Chicken Hawk YOU MUST KEEP QUIET! No spilling the secret and there may be a little something in it for you if your good!)

I have it all planned out! I went to Dollarama and purchase stupid stuff and tiny gift bags. I am making tags with their names on it and hiding one everyday in a place where I know they will look at some point. I am so excited about doing this I needed to share so I wouldn’t burst! Of course I will receive a gift every day too, so no one will suspect me either. Hee Hee Hee I CAN’T WAIT!