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Happy-Gourmand

The importance of Christmas traditions

Christmas traditions

Here we are, less than two weeks from Christmas. The kids will be on winter break from school soon and everyone will be in holiday mode.

Even though the sales have been on for ages, it seems there are still people crowding the shops and markets in preparations for the big day.

But this week, I want to talk about the opposite side of our Christmas experience. You remember, don’t you? It’s when you carry out those traditions you hold dear, and you’re rewarded with special memories to add to your coffers for the years ahead. Well, eventually they become special memories.

I know there are plenty of holiday movies that joke about people in a panic trying to maintain a Christmas standard—like a dish that must be a part of the holiday meal or a tree ornament that has to be hung. How many families reminisce years later that the dish was never a big favourite or that someone found the ornament creepy? And yet, the memory is still cherished.

Of course, all this leads to what the Grinch so eloquently stated: “Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” That “little bit more” in my mind is the little bit of time we set aside that we often don’t take during the rest of the year. Those stolen moments create priceless mementoes.

As a kid, I was always nervous about the Christmas school concert. Standing on those risers in front of everyone along with all the other choir kids in our home-sewn matching outfits, I never felt more awkward. Looking out at the crowd was terrifying.

However, once we started to sing, and the parents joined in (following along with the transparency projected on the auditorium wall), then I felt like my heart grew three sizes too. I loved that community spirit. I wish I could attend a school concert now, just for old time’s sake.

Our family was often running till the last minute, catching up to get everything done. Presents were being wrapped right up to Dec. 24, but that didn’t stop my parents from putting together a do-it-yourself pizza station for dinner that night.

My mom would make the dough, and my dad did the sauce. Piles of veggies were chopped, salami sliced, and cheese grated. I can still taste that delicious pizza every Christmas Eve, even though it’s been years since I’ve had it.

I remember the first time I experienced someone else’s traditions – another awkward moment. I was spending Christmas with my boyfriend’s huge family, and they opened presents in a frenzy. There must have been a dozen cousins and grandkids all tearing wrapping simultaneously.

I was in shock, having only had Christmas morning with one little brother and parents who doled out the gifts to open one at a time. It was overwhelming to see so much joy at once.

We haven’t had a chance to create traditions with our grandkids yet, but I hope to carry on one of my favourites, which I do even on my own.

I am a believer, so I put out cookies and a wee dram for Santa, along with a carrot for the reindeer. I set out a linen napkin so he can wipe any crumbs out of his suit or beard and not get anything sticky. And then I read “The Night Before Christmas”, just as my mom did every year, except if my Gramps was visiting (because he knew Santa personally and would add extra commentary.) [link to poem: https://poets.org/poem/visit-st-nicholas ]

My immediate family is gone now, and extended family are spread all over the globe, so my traditions are more about Christmas cards and Facebook pictures. But I am ever so grateful for the overflowing chest of memories that will keep my soul warm for many more Christmases to come.

I do hope you’ll take the moral of all those Christmas stories to heart and make time for the little things this season. Share your joy.

As the man in red once said (in the animated movie, The Polar Express), “Remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart.”

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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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

 



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

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