Saturday, December 24, 2011

My 10 Favourite Things About Christmas in the Maritimes

(Oooh, link baiting!)
Sipping on apple cider, listening to classic Christmas carols while my parents finish wrapping the last of the presents, getting ready to head to my grandparents' for dinner and to open our Christmas Eve stocking, I’ve taken this moment to reflect on the wonderful Christmas traditions my family shares this joyous time of year. I appreciate these traditions more as I get older. I’ve never missed a Christmas at home. Not even living across the country can keep me away from the Maritimes come December. I feel extremely fortunate that I can spend this time with those close to my heart on the east coast. (Although it is very hard having your heart in two places over Christmas).
So, I give you my 10 favorite things about Christmas on the east coast: (in no particular order)
*I will add pictures after I return and can upload them from my camera

1.    My grandmother’s cooking
My grandmother is from Newfoundland and boy can she cook. For Christmas Eve dinner we’ll have Chinese food: egg rolls, chicken fried rice, chicken balls, etc. – all homemade. Plus, what I look forward to every year, my Nan’s seafood dip. It’s so yummy! Of course for Christmas dinner we’ll be having turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, squash, carrots, peas, cranberries and gravy – all made from scratch. Plus homemade rolls and about a million different squares and pies for dessert. My grandmother doesn’t sleep. Especially over the holidays.

2.    Time with my family
The older I get the more I appreciate the time I get to spend with my family. Whether it’s hanging out with my sister (when we’re not fighting), getting mani/pedis with my mom, or seeing my extended family over the holidays. I love every minute of it. I especially love how the holidays bring everyone together. My mom’s side of the family is quite large – many aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins. Now that we’re all getting older my cousins are starting their own families so there are lots of little one around. It’s awesome! Kids make Christmas even better!

3.    Staying at my parent’s house
Living across the country, I don’t get to reap the benefits of leeching off my parents year round. So when I come home for the holidays I try to squeeze as much as I can into a two week period. Whether it’s soaking in their ginormous Jacuzzi tub, or helping myself to the “free” food and liquor :) I love being home! Laundry is free and I don’t have to do dishes (unless I’m nice and I want to help, which happens sometimes). 

4.    Catching up with old friends
I love getting updated on the latest in my friends’ lives. We don’t chat much while I’m away because after high school we all kind of out grew the phone. I enjoy hearing about their latest accomplishments (because all my friends are now grown up with adult jobs) and the dish on the latest gossip. My absolute favorite thing about catching up with friends is realizing that no matter how much time has passed, it never feels like we’ve spent time apart and we can always pick up from where we left off.

5.    Time off!
One of the best things about leaving the province for the holidays is that I can’t be expected to work! Muahahaha! I get such a nice long vacation away from school, work, and all the usual daily stresses.

6.    Lobster
Every time I come home I have lobster because nowhere else in Canada can you get a lobster as fresh as the lobster in the Maritimes. It’s so delicious! This year my uncle had us over for a lobster feed. He got the lobster off “his guy” (yes, in the Maitimes you have a “guy” to get your seafood from). He got me the biggest lobster I have ever seen – it was 5lbs! And I cracked it all by myself (well, mostly be myself). I only made it as far as the tail before I had to give up because I was so full. But that baby was stuffed! The legs themselves had about as much meat as a 1lb lobster’s claw!

7.    My kitties
I miss my kitties so much! I would bring Cassidy to live in my apartment with me if I was allowed to have pets, but unfortunately we aren’t :(

8.    Presents
Who doesn’t love presents? Whether it’s giving or receiving presents, it’s one of the best parts of Christmas.

9.    The Ocean
One of the best things about the Maritimes is the ocean. Whether it’s running along the wake, venturing out on my uncle’s boat during the summer in Prospect or a frosty ride across the harbour on the Dartmouth ferry, there is something so refreshing about the ocean that awakens my spirit.

10.  Coming back to my western family & friends
Although I love being on the east coast for Christmas, it’s just as exciting to fly back to my other home. I miss my new family and friends over the holidays. But I do get to spend all year with them, so leaving them for a couple weeks isn’t so bad. I’m always back in time to party on New Year’s!

“Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near.
Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we.
Welcome Christmas while we stand,
heart to heart, and hand in hand.”

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