I know, I know, it’s still November but Christmas is my favourite time of year and I am especially looking forward to making my babies’ first Christmas a memorable one.
Every year, I come up with an unofficial Christmas bucket list and this year I’ve decided to share it. Turns out, quite a few items happen to be food-related so it will give me a chance to share some recipes.
1. Skate on the river.
Here in Winnipeg, the Red River Mutual Trail is a ice rink on the frozen Red and Assiniboine River, located in the heart of the city. It is packed with skaters on any given Winnipeg winter weekend (say that fast three times) and I have to make up for last year when I was pregnant and had to pass up on it.
2. Give back by donating time or money.
My mom got my sisters and I into packaging Christmas boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We’d have so much fun buying things to pack into shoe boxes for children in developing countries. I’ve continued the tradition every Christmas. On occasions where I haven’t been able to fill shoe boxes, I’ve donated to Operation Christmas Child. It’s a reminder of how much we have to be thankful for.
During the holidays I also like to give back in time. I’ve wrapped presents at those booths in the mall. Usually a different organizes volunteers to wrap presents for donations going towards their cause.
Another favourite is volunteering at Winnipeg Harvest.
I also usually organize putting a hamper together for a family in need through the Christmas Cheer Board at work.
Not sure what I’m doing this year, but I will find a way to give back to my community.
3. Have a Christmas movie marathon complete with homemade popcorn.
I LOVE Christmas movies and nothing screams Christmas like a snowy day spent indoors, cuddled in a blanket drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies while watching Christmas classics. I have my favourites (The Holiday, Love Actually, The Family Stone, Home Alone) but this year I want to watch some classics. I have a confession…I have never seen A Christmas Story in full! I have seen parts here and there but never from start to finish, to this is the year. I’m also adding It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street to the list.
Popcorn and binge-movie-watching go together and I’ve been looking for an excuse to try some popcorn recipes on a Whirley Popper I got for Christmas last year. I’ve got this recipe, this one and this one in mind.
4. Make mulled wine.
I associate mulled with Christmas cheer but I’ve never made it, so this is
Fancy homemade popcorn is a must to go with Christmas movie binge-watching.
the year. I’m still looking for a recipe is anyone has one they’d like to share!
5. See a lights or Christmas tree display.
Lights, trees, wreaths, snow flakes, holly, mistletoe, nativity scenes, I love all Christmas decor. I know there are plenty of Christmas tree and light displays so I think it’ll be nice to make an afternoon of it with my family and immerse ourselves in the non-commercial joys of Christmas.
6. DIY gift giving.
Speaking of non-commercial, I plan to purchase gifts at craft shows with local fares and/or at Ten Thousand Villages because who doesn’t love a socially conscious gift?
I do plan to make a couple of gifts of my own. I’m thinking the popcorn above would make a yummy gift for a host.
7. Attend a cookie swap.
I love the idea of a cookie swap: you bake one kind of cookie (1 dozen per attendee) and then you just swap so that each person goes home with various kinds of baked goods!
This year especially, I don’t have a lot of time so anything that saves me time sounds good to me.
8. Start my nativity scene collection.
In El Salvador and other Central American countries, nativity scenes, nacimientos are THE Christmas icon. In fact, in my parents’ hometown, they would turn it into a friendly competition. People go all out creating whole villages with the nativity scene at the centre of course. There is a panel of judges and a winner is crowned, usually purely for bragging rights. They are set up near the doorway, making it easy to see for neighbours and others passing by. My grandma won the competition in her neighbourhood one year. I wish I had pictures!
My parents carried the tradition on when we moved to Canada. Every time they went back to El Salvador for a visit, they’d bring back a new piece. Baby Jesus is not placed in the manger until midnight on December 24th, representing his birth.
I don’t have the room to go all out but I have wanted to start a small collection for years now so what better time than the present to get started.
9. Start a new family tradition.
This Christmas is extra special for my husband and I because of the two new little ones in our family (read about it here). I have nothing but the fondest memories of my childhood Christmases and I only hope to be able to provide memories as warm and loving to our kids. So I’ve decided to start a tradition unique to our family this year. I’m not sure what it is yet so I’m curious — what are your holiday family traditions?
10. Get my music fix.
B.A. (before babies) my husband and I used to go out to live shows and concerts all the time. While we’ve managed to get out for dinner a few times, none of those outings have involved live music and I miss it. There is no shortage of shows here so my goal is to get out and get my music fix at some point this holiday season.
What are your Christmas/holiday must-dos this year? I’d love to hear them!