1) Favourite holiday traditions?
My two favourite December holiday traditions are our church small group Channukah party and Jólabókaflóð, the Icelandic tradition of getting a new book on Christmas Eve and reading until way too late. Sadly, this year, our small group Channukah party may not happen since it's hard to get everyone organized in December. But on Christmas Eve you will absolutely find me curled up with a new book (probably Iron Flame on my Kobo) and reading (and snacking) until all hours.
2) Favourite holiday fashion items or accessories?
My absolute favourite holiday fashion item is our matching holiday pajamas. I wrote about this yesterday, but for this year we just got matching bottoms and are wearing tops we already own. If you follow me on Instagram, look for the annual Christmas morning in front of the tree photo!
FYI, this is the third blog post in a row where I've used this picture! Hahahahaha!!!
3) Share your favourite holiday recipes?
My favourite holiday recipe is the 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. I will make the first batch of this tomorrow and it will be a staple in our house for the next month!
4) How do you celebrate the holidays?
Since Dave is Jewish, and I am Christian, we celebrate all the holidays! Okay, not all of them but you get the picture!
We celebrate Channukah (we try to do something special every night like time with family, we light our two menorahs, we do our traditional skate shopping night, etc)...
... and we also celebrate Christmas, usually with my parents. One thing to note is that we do not celebrate the Santa and reindeer part of Christmas in any way shape or form, although there are other secular aspects of the holiday which I embrace with open arms -- stockings, a tree, lots of lights. Not celebrating Santa was a deliberate choice we made when we were discussing how to be an interfaith family.
5) Do you go to see holiday lights?
Yes. I love going to see holiday lights -- especially light displays. Rachel, Dave, and I are going to a local light installation next weekend and I am so excited!!!
We're always excited to see the menorah and driedels at Wonders of Winter in our city's park. among the other displays. This year I think we're going to Wonders of Winter with our best friends which is something we've tried to do together fairly often.
I also love kicking off Advent, and the holiday season, with walking the labyrinth at our midweek church program. We're doing this tonight and I can't wait! I'll probably cry :)
6) How do you decorate your house for the holidays?
My decorating is quite minimal, especially in years when we're travelling and not home for the holidays.
Some Christmas decorations
I love hanging the driedels on our kitchen cupboard and the Channukah banner on the piano.
7) If you get a Christmas tree -- is it real or fake?
My dad owned a tree farm/garden centre when I was growing up so our tree was always real. I cannot do a fake tree but my parents have switched to the dark side (a fake tree) for the past couple of years. I feel like I don't even know them anymore! Hahaha!!! On years when we go to Saskatchewan for Christmas, we don't put up a tree, but in years when we stay here, I love getting a tree through our neighbourhood association.
8) Favourite holiday treats?
For Channukah, I love latkes! They are so good, especially the ones Dave makes.
9) If you have pets...
We don't have pets. And when we did (fish), we didn't do anything for them!
10) Best tips to make the holidays less stressful?
Well, this year, we're travelling over the holidays so not having to host, and being able to keep decorating minimal is pretty stress-free! Although, hoping our flight is not cancelled this year adds to the stress :) We're also trying to keep gift giving pretty low key so that really helps. We're prioritizing experiences over things.
So that is how we holiday! I mostly love this time of year but sometimes I feel like there is a lot of pressure to "go big" or "make the most of every single thing" and the reality is, that's not possible. So we try to do things and celebrate in ways which are meaningful to us. Being with family, and embracing a few small traditions, are what make this season special for us. Not everyone feels this way, but this is how we holiday.