Merry Christmas eh?

By - December 25, 2005 (Updated: November 30, 2014)

Happy Holidays from the Canucks!

Today will be the first time Andrew and I spend Christmas together, without other family members present. We’re especially missing friends and family over the holidays but we’ve decided to make the best of it by relaxing.

This isn’t the first time either of us has been away from our families for the holidays. In fact, Christmas has been about compromise since we met in university.

At first, we had to choose between spending the holidays together or with our families. Then, after we married, we tried to alternate which family would get us on Christmas and which would wait until a few days after.

Today isn’t even be our first Non-Canadian Christmas, as last year was spent with Andrew’s family in Florida.

But this year, there will be no jumping in the car, to drive four hours from one family to the next. There will be no rush to fit everyone in to the holiday visiting schedule in the few days we’d have off from work. In fact, it should be down right quiet compared to the marathon visiting sessions of the past.

I won’t be giving up all of my Christmas traditions however. Even though it’s just the two of us (well seven of us if you count the furry family), we were determined to decorate a Christmas tree and it had to be a real one.

Despite having needles all through the house, I just can’t bring myself to buy a fake tree. I need the smell of fir, not plastic to get me in the Christmas spirit.

So now the tree is up, and although it’s a bit unconventional, it suits us. Our European tree has bright and bold colours, rather than the traditional red and green. It also has lots of glitz and glitter so we have dubbed her ‘The Diva Tree.’

We had to glam up the tree because she’s a bit bare underneath (besides a few cats, who are convinced they would make fabulous Christmas gifts). We exchanged presents with friends and family when we visited Canada in the fall. I have a need to see people’s reactions when they open the gifts I searched so hard for. I insisted on a series of ‘mini Christmases’ each time we visited someone new.

We send a big thanks to the Snowbirds for the DVDs and to the Upper-Canucks for the groovy hats and maple products. You rock eh?

Andrew and I have forgone exchanging gifts this year in lieu of after Christmas travel plans. We haven’t settled on a date or destination yet, but that’s what the holidays will be for.

Merry Frickin’ Christmas… now get this thing off me before I bite you!

In addition to the festive smell of our little Diva, I’ll be filling the house with smells of Christmas cooking in a few hours. We picked up our fresh organic turkey (which I was assured was ‘just walking around two days ago’ … more info on my dinner than I really needed), just big enough for two (with enough leftovers for turkey sandwiches and soup of course). I’ve been rooting through my cookbook collection for interesting stuffing and side dish recipes and I plan to spend today cooking and feasting.

We won’t be totally alone over the holidays. Of course we will make calls to family and friends on the big day. We spent Christmas Eve with friends in Antwerp (thanks guys, supper was fab!). Over the holidays we hope to visit our friends in the Netherlands and our neighbour wants to take us to visit her hometown in Northern Belgium.

But mostly we’ll be sitting back and reflecting on a busy year – A year that’s been full of changes for us. We’ll enjoy a bit of quiet time together without the usual hustle and bustle and holiday stress.

This year, while we will have our Canadian family and friends with us in our hearts and thoughts, we will make some new traditions, just the two (well, seven) of us.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
- 22 hours ago

1 comment

  1. Comment by Jay

    Jay December 28, 2005 at 08:29

    We also had a quiet Christmas, but it was very nice It kind of brings a whole new dimension to the holiday when you’re able to sit back and relax a bit.

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