By Anchel Krishna @anchelk
Our Holiday Traditions
My sisters and I grew up celebrating Christmas in Canada. It was – and still is – one of my favourite holidays.
We’re Hindu and spend most of the fall celebrating the many festivals and holidays that happen in that period, but that doesn’t stop us from breaking out the Christmas tree, lights and decorations when December comes.
Because my parents didn’t grow up with specific Christmas traditions, it was really up to our family to build our own. The great thing about this is that it allows us to celebrate the holidays in a way that makes sense to us.
We may not attend Christmas mass, but we love exchanging gifts, holiday baking, spending time together, enjoying a big, traditional turkey dinner and taking some time to ensure we remember to give back to the community. For the past few years Dilip and I have hosted a Christmas day brunch that involves both sides of our family and in-laws coming together and enjoying frittatas, pancakes and potatoes (prepared with an obvious extra bit of red chillies).
Since having Syona, Christmas has meant a whole new level of fun and it’s because of our holiday traditions. Here’s how we enjoy the holidays:
Create your own traditions
Who says you have to follow any rules? We created our own traditions that work for our family and us. Some Christmas dinners involved channa bhutara and other had a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. And every year we are flexible about them as our family and scheduling needs change. We’re equally happy to celebrate Diwali and Christmas. I don’t think celebrating one tradition takes away from the other, I think it just gives us more reasons to have a great time. Our other tradition is to not go too over the top with gifts. We set a budget, stick to it and it works.
Keep it casual
Our family is pretty informal. It doesn’t matter whose house we are at, you will find us all doing prep and cleaning up. Some of the best memories happen during post-meal kitchen cleanup. It takes any pressure of the host and helps Syona learn that when we work together we have more fun. If you’re hosting and someone offers to bring something, say yes! And think of a couple of duties your guests can help with, because most people will ask.
If you’re a guest at someone’s home offer to bring a dish and help clean up.
And when it comes to making things with your kids, who says they have to be perfect? A falling-apart gingerbread house is a great conversation starter and just as delicious as the Martha Stewart version. One of my favourite memories is when Syona helped me roll out and decorate cookies. They definitely weren’t perfect looking, but they were the best!
Take the easy way out sometimes
Before Dilip and I bought a house I had these grand dreams of purchasing and decorating a real tree every year. Well, our first year we were visiting India at Christmas so there was no tree.
By our second year in the home, we had Syona, very little sleep and no time to plan, so I headed to the closest store and bought a pre-lit artificial tree and a bunch of coordinated ornaments, which took all the work out of decorating. Every time I put up the tree, I’m so grateful that we took the easy way out.
Figure out the shortcuts you’re comfortable with and take them!
What are your holiday traditions? How do you keep the holidays fun?
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