Sometimes it’s hard to slow down and enjoy the holiday season – especially if you’re working, or getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. It also seems that there is so much pressure to enjoy yourself this season, which is ironic because it tends to be one of – if not the most- stressful times of the year.
I will fully admit that I often get caught up in all of that. It’s not hard to, especially when you work in retail. But I really do think this can be one of the most beautiful times of year, if we could only slow down and appreciate it. This year, I really wanted to make an effort to try to slow down, and focus on all the things I love about the holiday season. One way I like to do this, is by partaking in some of my favourite holiday traditions.
Here are some of my favourite holiday traditions:
- Christmas Music – love it or hate it (and a lot of people seem to hate it) Christmas music is an absolute must for me. On December 1st (sometimes as early as November, not going to lie!) the Christmas playlists begin. We usually always have Christmas music playing in the background! I love a good mix of old favourites and newer Christmas songs. And of course, no Christmas playlist would be complete without Michael Bublé.
- Decorating – this is one of my absolute favourite aspects of the holidays. Decorating fills me with so much joy and creative energy. You can read my post about our holiday decorating for this year here! Decorating our Christmas tree has always been a very special time for me. When I was younger, I always remember decorating it with my parents, and my father lifting me up to place the star on the tip of the tree. Now I’m tall enough to do that by myself, and my mom and I have taken over decorating – I guess my dad doesn’t have too much patience for our need to color code and theme our Christmas tree! While the front of our tree goes with our colour theme for the year, we also mix in some of our special ornaments – ones I made when I was a child, gifted ornaments, and ones that hold sentimental value.
- Baking – since I was a child, I’ve always loved baking. Well, when I was younger I more so enjoyed eating the baking – but now I love to bake yummy treats for my family, friends, and work. Some of my favourite treats to bake for the holidays are shortbread cookies, butterscotch confetti bars, cookies, and rice krispies. A new recent favourite is the incredibly delicious yet very easy Sweet & Salty Chocolate Toffee bark, which you can find here! I love experimenting with fun recipes, and hope to post more soon!
- Movies – holiday and Christmas movies are an absolute necessity in my household. Every Christmas, my mom and I love to relax in the evenings by watching a Christmas film with some tea. We light a bunch of yummy-smelling candles, turn on the fireplace, and unwind. Last year I posted a month’s worth of Christmas movies, which you can find here! We also record nearly all of the Christmas hallmark movies on television – you know, the very cheesy yet undeniably adorable movies.
- Family Dinner – this is always a tradition for my family. Usually we get together with my aunts, uncles, and cousins, and have a big dinner full of both Arabic food and “white people food” as my Grandmother used to call it. Sadly this will be our first Christmas without my grandmother, which will definitely be tough. But I think it’s even more important for us to get together to celebrate Christmas, family, and being together. My Grandmother always loved to see all her children and grandchildren gathered together, spending time with one another, and enjoying delicious food. Our family dinners usually include turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, salad (tabbouleh, fatouche, or sometimes just regular cesar!) pita bread/pita chips, hummus, kibbeh, Arabic rice, and more. Mealtime is no joke for Middle Eastern cultures – there’s no such thing as a “simple” meal.
What are your favourite Christmas/Holiday Traditions?