Family life

Did your holiday traditions change this year?

Our Run-at-home mom forwent all her family’s traditions this year—and was surprised at how simple and wonderful Christmas can be

By Jennifer Pinarski
Did your holiday traditions change this year?

A simple Christmas meant more time with our children - and their favourite toys.

Big tree. Bigger dinner. Biggest pile of gifts. Christmas in our homes has always been huge. In Winnipeg, Christmas was nearly a week-long extravaganza which included Isaac’s birthday party, a large Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner, company dinners and gifts, massive family dinner on Christmas day and our family’s generosity was over the top and everyone was showered with their most asked for gifts and then some. It was busy and overwhelming—and so much fun.
Christmas 2011 was very different for our small family. Working from home means no company parties to attend. Being away from our families automatically meant that it would be quieter—my in-laws are loud (in a good way, of course, in case they are reading this). It also meant fewer gifts—have you seen how much it costs to ship things?! For Mr. P and myself, we decided that our two week vacation in Grand Cayman was our gift to each other and that we’d dial back our spending on the kids. Most notably, there was no schedule, which was my favourite part.
Without a schedule, we were free to create new traditions, preserving our favourite things from Christmases past. Our Christmas Eve Ukrainian meal stayed the same (who doesn’t love latkes and perogies?) with Isaac’s Buche de Noel birthday cake—another tradition—taking centre stage. On Christmas Day we decided to have a huge breakfast of our favourite crepes instead of a sit-down meal. We stocked the fridge with low fuss fruit and veggies trays to keep snack prep and clean-up to a minimum. We’ve never been a Boxing Day sale family, so to stay away from the stores is nothing new, but traditionally we’d spend the day driving and visiting friends. New for this year was a day spent in jammies, playing in the snow and bottomless mimosas. 
A quiet Christmas, stripped of the busy come and go, helped us enjoy each other and our children, and has been my favourite Christmas ever.

What new traditions did you start this year?
This article was originally published on Jan 03, 2012

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