Monday, 31 December 2012

Ringing in the New Year

Here we are.  Reflecting on another year gone by and looking forward to the promise of a new year just around the corner.  The past couple of weeks have been a happy wrap up of 2012.  Quality time spent with the kids in preparation for the holidays.  Celebrating Christmas.  Enjoying time with our families.  Slowing down, despite the rush, to enjoy the things that really matter.  New Years Eve always makes me feel wistful.  Reminding me of the relentless march of time... reminding me to treasure every moment.  It also inspires a feeling of anticipation.... of new memories waiting to be made... of a fresh new year just waiting to unfold.

We're spending New Year's Eve home this year.  It's just us, and it's wonderful.  As the kids have grown older, the times that we spend together, all of us together, has become a rare thing, and we've needed this time of re-connection with each other.  So we're watching a hockey game, playing video games, snacking on our favourite snacks, and placing bets on who won't make it to midnight.

And whoever's still up will be outside banging pots and pans at midnight.  

Happy New Year.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Late to the Party

I was tagged, Christmas style, by the lovely Kera at Nugget On A Budget, and immediately loved the idea of sharing our Christmas traditions!  I've had the post half-created in my mind ever since, but am only now able to finally find the time to post it.  Life is busy at the best of times, and more so this time of year - as it is, I'm still not entirely prepared for Christmas which is just days away!

Nugget On A Budget

Lanaya at Raising Reagan started this by tagging five different bloggers, whose Christmas or holiday traditions she wanted to learn more about.  SUCH a great idea!  Those tagged would then answer five questions, pick five more bloggers to tag, and so on....

Since I'm late to the party there won't be any tagging happening here.  It's time to focus on family and Christmas.  Instead, I invite you to create a post sharing your Christmas traditions and leave a comment with the link so we can all be sure to check it out.

Here we go with Kera's questions!

1.  What makes Christmas such a special holiday for you and your family?

It's all about time with family.  All year long we're hard pressed to make time to see grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles.  During the Christmas holiday we make time to spend with our families.  Oh, and the food... can't forget about all the great food!

2.  Were you told the truth about Santa by your parents or did you find out another way?  And... do you plan on lying to your kids when the time comes?

I don't remember when I had my ah-ha moment.  I know it was a gradual thing, first being suspicious, then searching for hidden presents (and finding them) and finally knowing the truth.  And, yes, we have lied to our kids for years!  The older kids know what's up but our youngest is still a believer, and the second youngest is on the fence... he's suspicious but afraid to stop believing for fear that it may mean the end of the present train.

Source: Etsy

I'm grateful to our older kids for not spoiling the Santa illusion for their younger siblings as they each came to realize the truth, and helping us preserve the magic a little longer.  

3.  Real tree or fake?

Real, always real!  Getting the tree is one of our favourite traditions!  I recently wrote about  the magic that is Drysdale's Tree Farm here.  

It's such a festive place, so much to do and see... and they have a beautiful store where each of the kids chooses a new tree ornament every year.

We didn't get there this year but did find a smaller, local farm where we chose a beautiful tree. 

4.  Do you open presents on Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, or both?

When we spend Christmas at home, or with my in-laws, the presents are opened Christmas morning, after herding kids to bed on Christmas Eve so that Santa can come while they sleep.  The tradition on my side of the family has always been to open presents on Christmas Eve, and we still open gifts on Christmas Eve when we go to my parents.  After dinner, which is always a whole filet mignon, we head out to admire Christmas lights and return to find that Santa came while we were out!

Added bonus:  when we return home after spending Christmas with my parents, the kids get to open the presents that Santa left under our tree while we were away!

5.  What's your favourite Christmas movie to watch?  Or favourite Christmas song?

Christmas movies that I love.... The Polar Express and Elf.  I grew up watching traditional Christmas television specials and they all hold a special, nostalgic place in my heart, but these two movies are our current favourites!

Favourite Christmas songs right now are both by the Trans Siberian Orchestra, Christmas Eve/Sarajevo and Christmas Canon:

Thank you Kera for tagging me, Christmas style!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Memories of Drysdale's Tree Farm

We haven't put up our tree yet... I know, I know, it's sad.  We've been so busy with hockey and work and stuff.  Like having our kitchen ceiling drywall repaired (we had a wee water issue upstairs) and the entire main floor patched and prepped for painting... who does that just before Christmas??  We always get a real tree, and we try not to put it up too early because no one wants a dried-out-dropping-needles-all-over-the-floor-dead-stick by the time Christmas Day rolls around.  Now it's crunch time.  We really need to get our tree this weekend but there's the small matter of a hockey tournament going on, which means there won't be time for one of favourite family outings to Drysdale's Tree Farm.  I love, love, love this place and we've made an event of getting our tree there almost every year since we've lived here.  It's magical.  Horse drawn wagons, hot chocolate and bonfires, Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus, sled dogs, a Town Crier, Christmas carols, and the most beautiful shop for decorations and ornaments.  Not to mention the best selection of Christmas trees I've every seen.  *Sigh*  We'll likely end up at a tree lot at a grocery store sometime this week, and the tree will be lovely, and it will officially be Christmas at our house, and all will be well... but I will miss this:

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