Please help us welcome author Jenn Burke to TNA today to help us celebrate our 5th Blogiversary. Jenn’s talking about holiday traditions and is also offering a great giveaway, so be sure to check out those details below.
Congratulations on hitting the five-year mark, guys! That’s awesome. And what a great time of year to be celebrating this milestone, when joyousness and warmth is already in great supply!
I don’t know about you, but I love hearing about other people’s holiday traditions. It’s like a sneak peek into what they hold most dear to their hearts. There’s such diversity out there in how people celebrate! Also, I’m shameless in stealing ideas to enrich my own holiday traditions, because why not! So, with that in mind, I’m going to share a few of my family’s traditions…and if you want to steal them, go right ahead!
1. Seeing the lights
The Ottawa area is AMAZING for viewing Christmas lights. Downtown, you’ve got Parliament Hill, where there’s a light show every evening. Not to mention Confederation Park, where every tree is alight in every colour you can imagine. In the eastern suburb of Orleans, there’s the aptly named Taffy Lane, where every house goes all out every year. They actually have to turn the street into a one-way road for the season to help with traffic!
My little town of Almonte usually celebrates the holidays near the beginning of December, with an event called Light Up the Night that features a concert on our main street and a night-time parade that anyone can enter a float in. I love it.
My favourite light-viewing event, though, is Alight at Night at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, on the St. Lawrence Seaway. It is INCREDIBLE. Upper Canada Village is a historic village museum where, in the summer, you can experience what life would have been like in the 1860s in Canada. But come December 1, it is awash in Christmas lights—almost 1 million of them, in fact. There are horse-drawn carriage rides and hot drinks, as well as carols and a music-set lightshow.
2. Christmas Eve hors d’oeuvres
When I was growing up, we lived in Edmonton, Alberta. It was just me and my parents, since I’m an only child, and the rest of our extended family was in Ontario, more than half a country away. As a result, it was always just the three of us at Christmastime. Mom didn’t want to make two big meals, so on Christmas Eve, we always had a meal of hors d’oeuvres.
Cheese, cold cuts, pickles, olives, shrimp, meatballs, salmon ball, smoked oysters…you name it, we probably had it at least one year. We carry on this tradition with my folks every year.
3. Christmas Eve present
When I was a kid, there was always one present marked for Christmas Eve. It almost always had something to do with sleeping—as in, a new nightgown or stuffed animal to cuddle. I’ve continued that tradition with my kids. They’re not even surprised anymore, but they still enjoy it!
4. No looking at the tree until everyone is up! Or, wow, are we really up this early?
I think the actual rule growing up was that I could look—since Santa doesn’t wrap presents—but I couldn’t touch anything until Mom and Dad got up. But I never wanted to get a sneak peek without my parents with me, and my kids are just the same. So that means Christmas morning in our house starts at 6 a.m.. There were a few Christmases where my kids wanted to start at 5, but there is not enough coffee in the world for that.
5. Christmas morning pierogis
Every time I tell someone about this, they ask if I’m Ukrainian. No…I’m mostly Irish! However, we lived in Edmonton, Alberta for a good chunk of my childhood, where there is a significant Ukrainian community, and my parents had friends who made homemade pierogis. We kind of adopted this as our thing at Christmas time.
About a month before Christmas, my parents and I (and now my husband and kids, too!) get together to make a big batch of pierogis. We’ve been doing this for almost 30 years now, and there have been some…interesting events with this tradition. Like the time my mom didn’t have vegetable oil for the dough, so she used olive oil. (Tip: never, ever do this. It makes the dough elastic and impossible to roll. There was much cursing that year…)
We fry up the pierogis on Christmas morning and serve them with fried bacon and onion. Hands down my FAVOURITE Christmas tradition.
So what are some of your favourite holiday traditions? Go ahead and share them in the comments, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card.
Happy holidays everyone, whatever and however you celebrate!
About the Author
Jenn’s always been drawn to weird and wonderful stories, particularly those juxtaposed with our normal, boring world. Her love of the written word prompted her to get a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Ottawa, and she’s spent the years since working in corporate and web communications—and dreaming up weird and wonderful stories of her own. A self-confessed geek, Jenn loves spending time in the worlds of video games, surfing her favorite websites, reading all the romance novels she can get her hands on, and accumulating an impressive collection of nerdy t-shirts. She currently lives outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband, two kids, and her writing helper, Alenko the husky.
Jenn is the co-author of the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series from Carina Press, and the paranormal romance Her Sexy Sentinel from Entangled Publishing.