Reflecting on my top three Christmas traditions, I find myself traversing through different chapters of my life: three in childhood, three in adulthood, and three post-motherhood. The nostalgia of growing up in Cape Breton floods my memories, where the post-Christmas music parties hosted by my parents were the epitome of excitement. Even attending others' gatherings was a thrill, as the live fiddle music resonated through the air, spirits soared, and treats flowed abundantly. The sense of community during these events, especially at Christmas, when everyone had time to spare, including the best fiddlers, made these occasions truly magical.
Baking with my remarkable mother became a cherished ritual during the holiday season. The variety of treats, from chocolate coconut balls to mint patties and jam cookies, created a delicious treasure trove. Most of these delights made an appearance only once a year, turning the act of preparation into a festive spectacle. I stood by, ostensibly to "help," but truthfully, I mostly reveled in watching and sampling bowls of batter.
Receiving a doll from Santa each Christmas morning marked the third delightful tradition of my childhood. The squeals of joy as I discovered a new doll by the fireplace created sweet memories that lasted for an entire decade, a testament to the magic of the season.
As I transitioned into adulthood, my focus shifted to the aesthetics of Christmas. Having my own apartment allowed me to explore and revel in the art of decorating. Through trial and error, I learned what worked and what didn't, discovering that while things with sparkles may look enchanting through a window, they inevitably lead to a glittery aftermath throughout the space.
Returning home to Cape Breton during the holiday season took on a profound significance in my twenties, marked by a unique emotional experience. Crossing the causeway triggered a surge of chills, signifying the completion of a year filled with hard work, travel, and fiddling. The reward awaited me as I approached the familiar grounds of my childhood home, where tears would sometimes fill my eyes at the prospect of reuniting with family in the coming days.
The third adult tradition involved a deeper exploration of the Christmas Mass. No longer a passive participant, I delved into the spiritual essence of the season, connecting profoundly with my faith. This shift went beyond the routine of attending church as a family, transforming into a personal journey of understanding my purpose as a child of God. The Christmas Mass became a source of inspiration, guiding me to approach life with elevated focus and a sense of purpose beyond self.
Now, at the age of 51, with 21 years of marriage and seven children later, my top three Christmas traditions continue to evolve. Hosting music parties, reminiscent of the joyful gatherings of my childhood, remains a highlight. The chaos and charm of decorating our home, now a collaborative effort with the kids, bring a unique sense of fulfillment. A treasured day off on December 25th is celebrated with a carefully prepared Christmas Morning Wife Saver breakfast, packed gifts, and a simple supper plan for the 26th, allowing us to spend the entire day in new pajamas, reveling in contentment.
Through all the variations of who I am and who I have become, Christmas has retained its status as my favorite time of year. The enduring joy, appreciation, and sense of purpose it brings continue to enrich my life, creating a tapestry of memories and traditions that resonate across the years. ❤️