I love this time of year. I celebrate Christmas and as with any holiday we may be celebrating, there is nothing better than traditions. Here is what creates meaning for me:
1. Holiday baking party with friends. As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with part Italian heritage, I obviously love food! It is no exaggeration when I say that an entire phone conversation with my mom or my nana can be about food–how we prepared it, what ingredients we used and how much we enjoyed it. Aside from cooking I also adore baking. My version of baking that is (think healthier versions, whole food ingredients and organic ingredients). For the past five years I host a party where I get together with some baking enthusiasts and we whisk stuff, blend more stuff and lick spoons for a couple of fun-filled hours. Note: not all recipes turn out, like the time we created a glass casserole dish full of fruit soup with a soggy oatmeal bottom (our unfortunate version of berry cobbler). C’est la vie.
2. Watching the Main Four. Elf with Will Farrell. A Christmas Carol with Alistair Simms (the scary black and white version that makes me bawl every time–“Forgive me, Fran, forgive me!”). A Christmas Story (you’ll shoot your eye out, kid!). It’s a Wonderful Life (I’ve probably watched this a total of …lets see… 100 times).
3. Talking to relatives overseas. Anyone who has called overseas on the holidays is well aware how similar it is to a Saturday Night Live skit. Scene: Italian Nana with a tiny address book falling apart at the seams rifles through the pages for forty-five minutes trying to find the five hundred digit phone number to dial. Then she argues with you for another twenty-minutes over the country code versus the area code. Once you actually dial the number, it is busy and you don’t get through for another hour. Then comes the minute possibility that no one in the small Italian or Croatian town is home or they have most likely gone to bed–at 8:00pm. If we do get to speak to someone this is my dilemma: I don’t speak Italian well enough to hold a conversation and my relatives in Italy and Croatia don’t speak English well enough to understand me, so I basically get on the phone when it’s my turn and say, “Buon Natale” “Come Stai?” “Grazie” and other words like that, hoping they are in the right order and sprinkled into the conversation at the right time. My nana used to translate for me, but she’s not at the point where that will happen anymore, so I’ll have to think of something else now. On the bright side, I’m Facebook friends with my Italian cousin and he can say a few English phrases, so maybe he can still pass on my holiday cheer from me to them!
4. Wishing that everyone was in one place. I am well aware that I made the decision to move across the country away from the friends I grew up with and my parents, but it still sucks when the reality of the holidays kicks in. My family is very spread out across Canada and Europe. A lot of my time over the holidays is spent on the phone. My vision is to one day hold an epic party with everyone altogether in one room. This may be an impossible fantasy but one can dream!
5. Being present to the magic of the season. I feel more joy during this time of year. It doesn’t have anything to do with my circumstances; it is a feeling that takes over and moves me out of any sad, frustrating or challenging times. I’ve had horrible and wonderful holidays and everything in between. The one constant is the feeling of magic. Tap into that feeling and rise above your life circumstances–connect with the energy of joy. Need help with that? Sign up for my newsletter below for inspiration, encouragement and tips!
I would love to hear about your family traditions. Comment below and share your top 3 faves.