What I Love About My Family At Christmas

When my father read my last post, he said, “I’m sorry to hear you had such an awful Christmas!” He was teasing, but it got me worried that someone might think I didn’t enjoy Christmas with my family. That’s not the case at all. My family is made up of the most wonderful, interesting, intelligent people I’ve ever met, and I love their carefree, generous approach to life. Here are some reasons why family is amazing (and I’m sure many of you can relate):

Cross-generational play and conversations

DSCN6820
My brother David playing with my son

There are 10 years between my youngest brother and my oldest son, and sometimes you’d never know it! As a result, my three-year-old has two energetic older uncles to entertain him and come up with crazy schemes that would never occur to me, i.e. attaching a rocket to a toy car and sending it flying across the snowy lake. They play trains,  go sledding, and have perfected the much-dreaded Gloop (getting covered by a blanket and roaring and flailing while searching blindly for one’s victims). It’s like having instant best friends for my son and built-in babysitters for me, so it’s pretty much as perfect as can be.

Outdoor Play

Father and son on the sledding hill
Father and son on the sledding hill
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Testing the ice thickness before making a rink

Living in a rural setting creates endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. Spontaneous hockey games on the rink, flooded by buckets and lots of elbow grease; wild sled rides down the neighbour’s treacherous driveway; moonlit walks down the road; cross-country skiing; and snowshoeing through the bush are typical activities. Even though I live in what’s considered rural Ontario, our home is still in a town, which limits what we can do just outside our front door. I miss the accessibility of nature at my parents’ home.

The amazing food!

Christmas morning -- French breakfast puffs
Christmas morning — French breakfast puffs
Christmas Eve pizza party
Christmas Eve pizza party
The glorious end result
The glorious end result

My sister is a professional pizza maker (see post here) and so we were able to enjoy her fantastic talent with a pizza feast on Christmas Eve. Despite her grumblings about not having her wood-fired oven available, I thought it was absolutely divine.

The décor

Dad sets up the candles in the evergreen-clad candelabra
Dad sets up the candles in the evergreen-clad candelabra

My parents are good at making their already-idyllic place look very festive. There were cedar boughs and white lights strung along the front porch, with more boughs and lights encircling the dinner room. The tree was cheerful, and the fireplace and stockings made it all the more welcoming. I need to take some decorating tips from them…

Relationships

Distant friends and family have a reason to reunite.
Distant friends and family have a reason to reunite.

My dear friend Patrício arrived from Brazil just in time for a snow-filled Christmas. He was here five years ago and loved it so much that he had to come back again. It makes it that much more fun for all of us, to know that someone is experiencing what’s normal for us as a foreign, exotic adventure. It got me thinking about the Brazilian Christmas I spent years ago, sweating outside during a hot barbecue while looking at the southern hemisphere stars in a deep blue sky and singing Silent Night. It’s another world altogether.

Another reason why I love being with my family at Christmas: It’s impossible to do the giant Globe and Mail Christmas crossword that would be impossible on my own. There’s no way a single individual has that much information crammed into his or her brain!

I hope all of your Christmases and holiday seasons have been satisfying and fulfilling, even with their challenges!

 

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