Traditions, old and new

I was catching up with family news on Facebook this past week, and it occurred to me that I was reading a new sort of Christmas card. 

It made me think how little things have changed in my lifetime about this time of year. You may wonder if I have had a bit too much eggnog, but read on and see if you don’t agree. . . .

In years gone by, I would get a newsy letter this time of year, tucked inside the cards sent by cousins, aunts and old family friends. You could rely on the holiday season to find out how Craig and Bruce were doing in hockey, or if Pat had won the local bonspiel again, or if Myrna or Maxine had a new great recipe to share. 

Now I can see that on Facebook, complete with photo albums. As soon as a comment is made, we can all pipe in with our two cents’ worth. If a recipe is needed, everyone can offer their version. Email made the communication instant, and things like Facebook make it communal across the miles. Even though my mantle is mostly bare of cards, I am still rich with the support of my family and friends.

When I was a kid, my mom and I spent numerous evenings at the kitchen table during the holiday season, working on various projects for the house and for gifts. For the record, my mom figured all this stuff out before Martha ever made it to television.

We wrapped branches on wire frames for wreaths, we decorated and wrapped cookies to give, we coloured kraft paper to make our own unique wrapping for packages. 

I don’t have children of my own, but my Girl Guide girls have been busy painting and gluing and tying ribbons to create craft projects for the tree, or the door, or to be someone’s gift. They enjoy it just as much as I did, and wouldn't you know, the grown-ups appreciate the hard work and thoughtfulness just as they did in my day. It does my heart good to know that.

This time of year still seems to be the one season when we make the time to stop and enjoy a moment, instead of pressing on. One of my cousins posted an update on Facebook that sums it up: 

“. . . almost thought (he) saw the bottom of the laundry bin, found out there was still more and made mincemeat tarts instead.”

The rest of the year we feel we are supposed to stick to our obligations first, but at Christmastime we allow the urge to have fun to take over. My point was proven in another Facebook update that said my cousin needed to make shortbread, as the mince tarts were disappearing. In reply, a bit of holiday wisdom was offered from a friend on that topic:

“Shortbread always trumps laundry too. These trumps are the real truth behind why people have to buy new clothes in the holiday season. It has nothing to do with consumption of treats.”

Perhaps what I am trying to say is that Christmas encourages us to remember the joys children know to be everyday occurrences. We forget these wonderful moments when we grow up and get caught up in the rush of the day-to-day world, but the holiday season is the thing that resets our souls to some kind of balance. 

I keep hoping I will be able to improve my ability to switch on the kid in me, and use it all year long. In the meantime, I say keep practicing! Say hi to Santa, attend a Christmas concert and sing along, make mincemeat tarts instead of doing laundry . . . that reminds me, I have to go on Facebook to ask my cousin for his recipe.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories