We were standing in a circle, sipping wine at McPherson Theater during intermission. One lady asked if any of us had gone to the Sidney Sparkles Parade (aka Santa Parade) this year. We all shook our heads, mumbling excuses as to why not. She continued,
“We always go to the Sidney parade; it’s just tradition in our house. Usually it lasts about half an hour. Bing, bang and it’s done. Of all the years they chose to extend it – it had to be this one when it was so freakin’ cold. We ended up having a party on the sidelines, dancing and jumping around in order to keep warm.”
“I remember a few years ago,” piped up one of the guys. “It was pouring rain and I dared to suggest to my daughter that we should skip going to Heritage Acres. My daughter stamped her feet and cried, ‘No – it’s Tradition!’, so we bundled up everyone and went. We even rode the outdoor model trains in the freezing rain.” He laughed, “We haven’t stopped talking about that night. We bring it up every Christmas as we climb into the SUV to take our trip out there.”
Someone else added, “The first Christmas after I met my husband, I told him we had to go to this certain Christmas Tree farm on the Peninsula and cut our tree. My family had done that ever since I could remember. It turns out his family had done the same thing, at the same farm! That’s our tradition now. Even after we moved to Sooke, we still drive all the way out there to get our tree.”
“My wife has a French heritage, so we wait until Christmas Eve to bring the tree into our house. We light some live candles on it, gather around and sing Christmas Carols.”
“My husband is Swiss and his mother lives in Ottawa. She gave me her special recipe for pork tenderloin, so I cook that for Christmas Eve dinner. And the kids get to open one present. We then celebrate the usual Christmas Day events next day.”
“We do the Christmas Day thing with the family but then my husband and I always go down to the Empress Hotel on Boxing Day and walk through the Festival of Trees. We stay and have lunch at the Bengal Lounge.”
Whatever your holiday traditions are, when done right, I find they all add a certain magic, spirit, and texture to our everyday lives. My own Christmas traditions are a never-ending story, adjusted over time from the ones we adopted with my own children, to the ones we hold dear today.
I’d love to hear about your holiday traditions. Don’t be shy, just reply. I’m off to bake some cookies. Join me?
(All locations and events are from the greater Victoria region and Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.)