Thursday, November 18, 2021

Monthly Musings: Holiday Preview 2021

I love linking up with with Holly and Patty for Monthly Musings. Today it's all about the holidays and I am just starting to get into the holiday spirit so this is good timing. It helps that Channukah starts in a week and a half so I'd better be getting there soon :)

1) Share your favourite holiday traditions.

For Channukah, my favourite traditions are the lighting of the menorah in our public square (which is back this year!!!) and our church small group Channukah party. For those of you who are new around here, we are raising our kids in both faiths (Judaism and Christianity) and we're dragging everyone along for the ride. Our care group from church loves the Channukah party we host and it's so fun to share Channukah with them -- we eat latkes, light the menorahs, and play driedel. Our favourite thing is to read The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story, which is a great story about how Channukah isn't Christmas.


the large menorah in our public square * the first Channukah Care Group party game of driedel in 2012 (look at little Sam) * the Care Group Channukah driedel game from 2018

For Christmas, our family has really enjoyed celebrating Jólabókaflóð the past three years! Jólabókaflóð is the Icelandic tradition where everyone gets a new book on Christmas Eve and you read and eat chocolate until late. But for me the Christmas season kicks off with the labyrinth at church. Last year it was on our own and it was very hard for me. This year it's back in person and I CAN'T WAIT!!!!



Jólabókaflóð 2018 * Jólabókaflóð 2019 

2) Do you see holiday lights? Driving tour on your own? Attend a park or festival?

We've done a range of things. We've done a couple of driving light tours but the kids didn't want to do that this year. However, they both said they wanted to see Wonders of Winter which is a light show in our local park. It's a walking tour rather than a driving one and it's pretty similar every year but the kids love it.

We've often done Wonders of Winter with our best friends, such as last year when we got a socially distanced selfie.

3) Favourite holiday recipe?

I always make these Jell-O cookies (recipe here) -- red and green for Christmas and blue and yellow for Channukah. And orange sometimes too, for fun!

Other than that, I really love making a cranberry potpourri that simmers on our stove for most of December. I got this idea from a blog friend and it has been a December staple at our house ever since. It's basically a couple of orange slices, a handful of cranberries, a couple of cinnamon sticks, and a sprinkling of whole cloves. Add water and simmer away, adding water as necessary. I mix up a new batch every couple of days.

4) Must have holiday fashion staple?

Matching family pjs!!! Even though Dave isn't joining in this year (because he hates the style of the pjs I've found), the rest of us have them!!! The company I've found makes Canadian/winter themed pjs rather than Christmas/Channukah ones, which I really appreciate.


2018 pajamas

2019 pajamas

2020 pajamas

2021 pajamas coming soon!!! 

5) Any special or extra festive plans this year?

We are so excited to spend Christmas with my parents in an extra special place this year!!! We can't wait!!! So yes, this year will definitely feel extra festive :) In terms of Channukah, it's at a slightly crazy time of year for us so we don't have any special plans.

6) Best holiday planning tip?

My best tip is to gift experiences rather than physical items. Our kids, especially, have so much stuff and this year it's all about spending time with the people we love.

7) Favourite holiday movie?

 I don't think I have one. We always used to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and we watched Home Alone for the first time with the kids last year. I don't really have a favourite as movies aren't my love language, but in the past year we've gotten into Hallmark movies. I'm looking forward to seeing this year's Channukah themed movie!!!

8) Die Hard... Christmas movie or not?

I've never actually seen it so I don't know. Maybe I should make it a goal to watch it this year?

9) Tree/decorations up before or after Thanksgiving?

Considering we celebrate Thanksgiving in October, I don't know anyone who decorates before Thanksgiving :) We usually decorate the last weekend in November but since Channukah is so early this year, I might wait until after it to decorate for Christmas -- except for the Advent wreath and outdoor stuff. I'll likely decorate for Channukah the day before it starts.

10) Do you celebrate other holidays in December? Hannukah? Kwanzaa? Others?

Yes, we celebrate Channukah. We're an interfaith family so we're always celebrating around here :) This year Channukah starts on November 28.

Thanks for reading about our holiday traditions. Now I wish I had the day off so I could bake some cookies and watch a few Hallmark movies and work on our holiday cards...


  1. Die Hard is one of my favorite Christmas movies so I think you must watch it, but I also understand because movies are not my love language either (I had never thought to associate "love language" with "movies", but you nailed it). Very excited to see 2021 PJs!

  2. Ok those Jello cookies look so adorable and sound delish! I am IN LOVE with your family Christmas PJ's- oh my! SO CUTE! Thanks for linking up :)

  3. I've never seen Die Hard either. Your answers here are a lot of fun to read!

  4. I am still wrapping my head around the fact that Chanukah is so soon!

  5. Reading a book and eating chocolate sounds like my kind of celebration! I heard about this years ago but since we are always bus on Christmas Eve I knew it would never work for us (I really wish I had picked a different day in December to make it work for us though!!).

  6. Love seeing how you get to celebrate two holidays at this time of year. The more the merrier! Glad you're going to see your parents at Christmas.

  7. I love reading how other families celebrate holidays! I can't wait to see this year's pajamas - especially with the added intrigue of Dave not wanting to wear them, ha. ;)


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