Tag Archives: family christmas

Hygge

I learned about hygge at a wellness workshop I attended.  It is a Danish word that means ‘enjoying the good things in life with good people.’  The importance of hygge in Danish culture is perhaps the reason it is repeatedly listed as home to the happiest people in the world.  I just had a wonderful couple of days of hygge. Our children and grandchildren from Saskatoon were here for a visit and we were joined by our Winnipeg children.  The weather was sunny and warm and we spent a beautiful morning at the Forks making our way down part of the river walk, checking out some of the architecturally creative warming huts and trying out all the interesting things in the playground behind the Children’s Museum.  The next day we headed out to Fort Whyte where the younger two generations had such fun on the toboggan slide. Later we explored the tipi, the sod house and watched the bison. Our days together included a turkey dinner complete with my husband’s traditional bread pudding made with the help of our older grandson, a faspa with extended family, a lunch of home-made hearty soups courtesy of our daughter-in-law, a waffle breakfast, music making, some game playing, puzzling, drawing and coloring, visiting, story reading, stocking opening, sharing last year’s highlights and our expectations for the coming year, going out for coffee,and even a little napping and knitting.  It was certainly a time of hygge- “enjoying the good things in life with good people.” 

Other posts………..

600 Million Moments

The Breath of Life

Cousins

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High Drama at the Christmas Family Gathering

christmas 1961There’s certainly a story in this photo from the early 1960s.  My cousins and I are all at my grandparents in Gnadenthal, Manitoba no doubt getting ready to sing O du fröhliche or some other German carol like Ihr Kinderlein kommet for my grandparents before receiving our gifts. My cousin Charlotte on the far right is being difficult. She has a mind of her own and her mother, my Aunt Mary, is having a hard time cajoling her into joining the cousin chorus.  Each cousin has a different reaction. I’m on the far left in the back row.  I’ve pasted a cardboard grin on my face to show the drama doesn’t affect me.  My cousin Bernie on the other end of the back row, in his dapper pin striped suit coat that matches the one his twin brother Al is wearing, appears to be the only cousin who finds the situation humorous. (Note the lovely velvety blue jumpers my mother has sewed my sister Kaaren and me for Christmas with just enough material left over for my little brother’s vest.)

My cousin Connie next to me is obviously aghast at her younger cousin’s behavior as exhibited by the hand to her cheek in an “Oh no!’ type of gesture. My little brother Ken is turned sideways just staring, totally absorbed in the drama unfolding before his eyes while my sister Kaaren and my cousin Al look straight ahead neither smiling or showing emotion.  They must be thinking, “This is a serious situation but it is best ignored.” Note that my cousin Robert in his bright red vest has a worried look on is face, and is clutching his tütje in his hand.  Will his cousin’s antics perhaps result in the loss of the tütjes which are a reward for a good Christmas performance for our grandparents? 

This was so long ago and now most of my cousins and siblings are already enjoying their retirement years. Today no doubt many of us in the photo will be attending gatherings and parties with our own families and new little dramas will unfold and play out.  Some will be forgotten and some, like this one, will be captured on film and become memories of family Christmases past. 

Merry Christmas to all my cousins.  We made some great memories together!

PS- I may have mixed up my cousins Al and Bernie in this post.  I can tell them apart now but never could when we were children. 

Other posts about Christmases past………

The Nuns’ Christmas

My Mother’s Childhood Christmas

Christmas Stocking Crisis

Tutjes- An Important Christmas Tradition

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Christmas Eve- This Will Be………

This will be the first Christmas of my life I will spend without my mother. For sixty years she played an important role in how I celebrated the holidays. 

My Mom listens intently while her oldest grandchild reads the Christmas story

My Mom listens intently while her oldest grandchild reads the Christmas story from the Bible

When I was a child she worked so hard at Christmas. Mom cooked a huge turkey dinner, baked cookies and Christmas cake, decorated the house and sewed new dresses for my sister and me.

My sister and I in dresses Mom sewed for Christmas. You can see the stockings are hung.

Me and my sister in dresses Mom sewed for Christmas. You can see the stockings are hung.

She played piano for the church choir concert, and organ for the Christmas Eve service. She helped us learn our parts for the Christmas program at church and rehearsed the songs we would sing or the piano piece we’d play at my paternal grandparents, where each grandchild had to give a little performance before getting their presents from our grandparents.

Me and my cousins performing for our grandparents

Me and my cousins performing for our grandparents

She made sure there were gifts for our stockings, gifts for us to give our cousins and grandparents and gifts for our teachers. She trimmed the tree.

Celebrating Christmas with Mom's family in Saskatchewan

Celebrating Christmas with my mother’s  family in Saskatchewan

She did all the laundry and packing for our biannual trips to Saskatchewan to spend Christmas with her family.

grandma plays for carol singingMom always played the piano for the carols we sang at our family gatherings and over the years she was joined by my brother’s violin, my brother-in-law’s cello, my son’s guitar, my nephew’s clarinet or my niece sitting down at the piano with her for a duet.

Mom on the piano with one grandson on clarinet and another on trombone

Mom playing the piano at Christmas with one grandson on clarinet and another on trombone

It will be strange to have Christmas without Mom who took such delight in the gathering of her family and made Christmas so memorable for all of us.

Christmas twenty years ago-Mom and Dad and grandchildren

Christmas twenty years ago-Mom and Dad with their  grandchildren

This will be the third Christmas that we will spend back in Canada after living abroad for six years.  We spent those Christmases in many different places.

Dave on a snowy Christmas Day in Germany

Dave on a snowy Christmas Day in Germany

One year we cruised a river in Germany stopping to visit all the Christmas markets. We stood outside a huge cathedral on Christmas Eve and listened to the bells play Silent Night. In 2004 our Christmas was spent in Phuket Thailand, where by a series of fortunate choices we escaped the tsunami that hit the region.

On the beach in Sydney for Christmas

On the beach in Sydney for Christmas

On two consecutive Christmases we went down under, once to New Zealand and the next year to Australia.  We spent one Christmas in Borneo enjoying tropical temperatures, snorkeling and hiking.  Although those holidays were exotic and enjoyable I missed being with our families for Christmas and I’m glad we will be together this year.

skating-on-the-red-riverThis will be the fortieth Christmas of my life that I will spend with my husband Dave. Together we’ve bought a tree, planned gifts for our children, gone shopping for holiday meals and attended numerous Christmas concerts and programs.  We’ve also planned the adventure we’ll embark on immediately after the Christmas season is over.  For the next few months my blog posts will originate from Ontario, Florida, Jamaica, Texas and Mexico.

Mom takes me on a carriage ride the first Christmas of my life

Mom takes me on a carriage ride the first Christmas of my life

This will be the sixtieth Christmas of my life. I’m looking forward to it.  Merry Christmas to all my blog readers. 

Other Christmas posts………

Make New Friends But Keep the Old

The Magi Got Me Into Trouble

Bits of Christmas

Only A Five Star Hotel for the Holy Family 

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Bits of Christmas

The holidays are drawing to a close and tomorrow we head south for a couple of months. We’ve had a lovely Christmas season. 

christmas card display

We received lots of good wishes from friends and relatives. 

family calendarWe had several nice family get togethers and celebrations. This is the calendar my sister-in-law makes each year to give to family members at Christmas with lots of photos of everyone on my side of the family and all the birthdays and anniversaries noted. ticket to ride game

We usually have a jig saw puzzle out for Christmas but with an eight month old around this year who loves to put everything in his mouth we thought that might be too dangerous. We opted for some game playing instead. Our younger son and his wife taught us Ticket to Ride and Qwirkle.

wafflesWe had lots of great food. A family favorite is waffles with home-made white sauce, fruit and bacon. I made it for our immediate family brunch. Other meals we shared included a turkey dinner with all the trimmings at my sisters, a lavish buffet at my aunt’s home, a half-dozen Christmas party spreads at the homes of friends, a pork tenderloin dinner with our children and a great lunch at Deer and Almond a Winnipeg restaurant that has been getting rave reviews. Before our older son and his family board the plane home we plan to take in a brunch at Stellas at the airport. 

winter in winnipegWe went for some walks in the beautiful area surrounding our Winnipeg Exchange District home. 

christmas stockingLots of gifts were given and received. The second and third generation each had a filled stocking with plenty of treats. Dave gave me tickets to four plays at Winnipeg theatres and the promise of a new bicycle when we get to Arizona. I can hardly wait. Dave did most of the Christmas shopping for family this year and opted for experiential gifts- golf games, restaurant certificates and theatre tickets.

program winnipeg singers christmas concertWe heard plenty of great Christmas music. Our daughter-in-law sings in the Winnipeg Singers and we went to their A Canadian Christmas concert which featured a reading of Margaret Laurence’s The Christmas Birthday Story.  We also saw our daughter-in-law direct her high school choirs at their Winter Concert and saw our son’s band perform. On Christmas Eve both our son and daughter-in-law had solos during the church service. 

The Friendly Beasts by Tomie de PaolaWe did lots of singing at my sister and brother-in-law ‘s house the night of our extended family gathering and when our immediate family  did our gift opening we sang three carols- The Friendly Beasts, The Huron Carol and Lo How A Rose. 

90th birthday

We celebrated my Aunt Vi’s 90th birthday during the Christmas season. She is the oldest member of my maternal extended family and here she is holding the youngest member of her family. 

It has been a busy, happy Christmas. I’m ready for 2013!

If you enjoyed this post you might also like………

Christmas in Hong Kong – Good Memories

Children’s Christmas Books- The Classics

The Magi Got Me Into Trouble

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