Christmas 2016!

Remember Christmas? I know, it was forever ago. The decorations are down and now it's just freaking cold for the next three months and no real thing to celebrate until Easter, so let's distract ourselves for a second by looking back to good old December.

December is such a tease. It's hardly officially winter and there are so many fun events, parties, and things to anticipate with Christmas at the end of the month. It's like we walk into winter totally blindfolded thinking it's going to all be this great, but really we're all counting down until warmer weather because the jig is up #fiveweeksuntilsummer. But I digress. Christmas!

Christmas Eve day we started a new tradition, which was eating a massive charcuterie platter with the kids for lunch. We feasted on pate, cheese, various meats, and so.much.bread. 

We spent Christmas Eve and Day here in Montreal just us five. It was magical. We ate birthday cake for Jesus for breakfast which is totally my new favourite tradition ever. Then the kids opened their stockings and gifts gradually over two or so hours. They weren't given a ton, but there are three of them, and we have a rule that only one person can open a gift at a time and we have to actually check out their gift before moving along. This really helps with the kids being thankful and appreciative and takes the focus off themselves and their own presents. Not doing Santa helped, too.


Most of the kid's gifts were secondhand this year (hockey skates, books, a few toys, board games, puzzles). We also got the girls dresses from Alice and Ames and the whole family got a BioDome membership. Our extended family blessed the kids with hockey helmets, craft supplies, puzzles, more books, money for a Zoo membership, and the girls got Our Generation dolls. Basically, they were crazy spoiled and we don't have to buy them anything until summer, and wow we are so blessed.


We left on Boxing Day and endured a 9.5 hour drive in really bad weather for Southern Ontario. We spent a couple of days with my parents, sister, brother-in-law and niece. On the 27th my cousin hosted a Christmas party for the whole family and it was fabulous. It was so great to see my cousins and aunts and uncles after many years in some cases. Isn't my cousin's tree insane? She has the best style and is so generous - I left with a huge scoby for making Kombucha and one of my Grandmother's kilts and a fur coat! Talk about jack pot. The next morning on the 28th we headed to Willow Beach, three hours away to celebrate with Brad's mom, her husband, his kids, and our brothers.

Willow Beach was filled with great food, lots of cozy reading and relaxation, and nightly games of Celebrity, charades, and Things in a Box. I love that Brad's family goes nuts over social party games like that. It's such a fun way to bond with people and make memories!

On New Years Eve we parted ways with Brad's family and spent the night with old friends. We only see these friends once a year but it's always so memorable with the kids and adults picking up right where we left off.

On Jan 1 we headed back to Montreal where we celebrated with Brad's dad and again his brothers. This was the second year in a row that Rob's girlfriend Madison joined us and let me tell you it is so nice having another girl around after several years of just me and the boys :) Aside from her gender being helpful, she's actually just the best ever and spent hours investing our kids, from one-on-one chats, playing in the snow, to teaching them children's yoga poses. We rented an amazing Airbnb just down the street from our condo that could easily accommodate us 10. We were really spoiled spending so much time with the brothers. As the kids and I were walking home from the Airbnb, Chloe sighed, "I miss my uncles" and we all agreed with heavy hearts.

This year Christmas was so meaningful. Celebrating Advent for the first time as a family really set our hearts on the right track. You can read about my initial plans here, and an update of how things went half way through here. I think our kids are also in such a golden stage for Christmas where they're young enough to be insanely giddy about everything but also old enough to really understand what's happening and the real reason for it. Only 11 months until we do it again!

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