e of my favorite parts about Christmas is learning about everyone’s Christmas traditions. Every culture seems to have a different activity or celebration that they partake in during the holiday season. That is one thing that I really love about being a Canadian. While we all identify as Canadians, many of us still embrace our ethnic backgrounds two or three generations down from our emigrated ancestors.
I am lucky enough to have a couple different traditions that my parents have shared with me that I now get to share with my children.
One tradition that my family has always celebrated is American Thanksgiving. With my dad being American, I have been lucky enough to get two Thanksgivings every year! Over the last few years, our dinner has changed a little as Grey Cup usually falls on the same weekend, but the idea is the same. Eating together with family and friends. Now, our American Thanksgiving consists of four courses of Thanksgiving themed party foods served throughout the Grey Cup. And I wouldn’t have it any other way! Foods consist of Turkey/Stuffing pizza with a gravy sauce, cranberry flavored wings, cheese fondue with bread and veggies, deep fried potato balls, jalapeno poppers wrapped in bacon, and a chocolate fondue for dessert. Sometimes I add something pumpkin flavored in too!
It’s a unique twist on party food, and we still get to celebrate Thanksgiving with my dad. It’s one of my favorite holidays!
The other cultural tradition my family celebrates is Sinterklaas. My grandfather was born in Holland, and because of that background I was able to get an extra Christmas every year on December 6! Each year, on December 5, we put out our wooden shoes, and Sinterklaas comes to deliver Dutch treats, chocolate letters and a couple small gifts. My husband and I have made a tradition that he brings Christmas ornaments and Christmas books for the kids. Regular books for us adults.
While I am only 1/4 Dutch, and my kids are 1/8 Dutch, I still consider myself to be of Dutch origin. I love being able to share this tradition with them, and I hope that they continue to do so with their children. Who doesn’t want a second Christmas??
I think it’s important to carry on traditions with our children, and it’s great if they are cultural. But, it doesn’t always have to be cultural. A tradition that my husband has brought with him into our family is that Santa writes different names on the presents. For example, if you gave a book you might say it was from “Literate Santa” or socks might be from “Fashion Santa”. It adds a unique twist for the kids, and it’s something my husband really loved growing up as a kid.
If you didn’t grow up with any traditions, that’s okay too! You can always start a tradition. Maybe it’s looking at Christmas lights on Christmas eve or visiting Zoolights. Maybe it’s finding an organization to donate your time to. It’s never too late to start a family tradition!