Our Wymbin family is here to share with you our favourite holiday activities and traditions! We hope you enjoy reading about the many things that make the holidays so special and unique to us. What is your favourite thing to do over the winter holidays?
Jenna Galloway's Holiday
Growing up in Australia, it used to be the middle of summer during our holidays and so a favourite tradition was to go to the beach! In Canada, my favourite tradition has become getting the Christmas tree and setting it up. We collect ornaments from each place we travel to, so it is always special to unbox them and think about our special memories while we decorate the tree! A new tradition I am hoping to make this year is a celebration with our Wymbin team! This year, the thing that brought me the most joy was hearing my first loon call in the summer! I also applied for my Canadian Citizenship so I am very excited.
- Jenna Galloway
Cassidy Couture's Holiday
Christmas is always spent with my family, either in Calgary, Edmonton, or Invermere. We spend Christmas Eve playing games, wrapping last minute gifts, and setting up the milk and cookies for Santa (and carrots for the reindeer of course!). On Christmas Day we open our presents with hot apple cider and go on a long walk before coming home to start making our big Christmas dinner.
There are so many traditions that I love! After our big Christmas dinner on the 25th we get a "dinner gift" which is always a book. When my grandfather was around he would write a special note in our books and I treasure those books/notes, especially since his passing. Another favourite tradition of mine is all the Christmas baking that my family does! My favourites include fudge, chocolate chip shortbread cookies, and butter tarts.
This year I hope to continue a new tradition of stringing popcorn for our tree and driving around communities looking at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music.
- Cassidy Couture
Naina Rishiraj's Holiday
Twinkling lights, exploring local vendors at markets with mulled wine, chitter-chatter amongst hustling commuters, the bustle of the Great British High Street and strolling the cobbled alleys of Carnaby.
I am from London, UK and usually spend the month of December soaking up Christmas markets, lights, shopping and most importantly, spending time with family + friends. A Harry Potter marathon is always on the cards–we watch one movie a day from Christmas to New Year! As a British Punjabi family with 17 first cousins, we get through ALOT of food. I’ll be missing fruit mince pies with custard, cheese fondues, steaming mulled wine and singing/dancing in the kitchen on Christmas morning with my Mum/family, while we prep the feast!
I won’t be home for the holidays this year and am excited to create my very own Canadian traditions! I’ve visited the Spruce Meadows Christmas market and will be spending New Years in Banff! I’m so grateful to have the mountains as our backyard–it’s still very much a novelty for me! I’ve never had a real Christmas tree and have enjoyed the experience of buying and decorating one!
As someone who is passionate about diversity and inclusivity, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed teaching and learning more about holidays around the world, including Diwali, Hannukah and Christmas in various countries. Seeing students faces light up when they recognized their celebration being taught in the classroom is priceless!
- Naina Rishiraj
Sarah Graham's Holiday
Hello Wymbin community! My Christmas holidays are usually spent flip-flopping between Calgary and Fernie. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, however, have always been spent in Calgary. A few of my favourite traditions include going to A Christmas Carol, the play, at Theatre Calgary with my grandma on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day turkey dinner and games with my family. I also really enjoy the little things like working on the Christmas Day crossword with my Dad and our annual Christmas Day dog walk with the entire family before dinner.
- Sarah Graham
Gwynn Amethyst's Holiday
My favourite way to spend the holiday season is on the ski hill. I have beautiful memories of friends + loved ones sharing laughs and smiles on the mountain. When I previously worked at the ski hill this would be out busiest time, teaching family lessons. Each year it warms my heart to see so many friends, and families coming together because of the love of sport.
A tradition that I am looking forward to implementing this year is giving back to my community. Volunteering my time or donating to an organization. This is a time of giving. Helping and giving back to others always makes me feel grateful.
- Gwynn Amethyst
Aja Bezzeg's Holiday
Christmas in my family involves a lot of napping, eating and spending time together! When I was little my parents would always take us to the “biggest hill in Calgary” for sledding, come to think of it, it wasn't the biggest now that I’m older but it’s the thought that counts! We would shred it up on the hill for about two hours in the morning until it was time to go back home for pancakes. My dad would always make a big breakfast for us while we were in our jammies and we slowly made our way to the christmas tree. My mom would always be sitting on the couch and my dad was on wrapping paper duty. After presents we would take the longest nap of our lives while my dad prepped dinner! We would have cornish hens, which were traditional in Hungary where my dad was born. After we wake from our long slumber we would stay in our pj’s and enjoy a lovely christmas dinner!
Now it is my turn to carry on the torch and channel my inner chef, my dad. My dad passed away in 2020 and it makes me happy knowing that I am now the chef that continues on his Christmas legacy. I take pride in how much prepping christmas dinner takes and how much he loved having all of us together! This christmas I will unthaw the cornish hens and concur the kitchen in style with peanuts music in the back just for him. :)
- Aja Bezzeg
Brenna Valde's Holiday
I absolutely LOVE the holidays!! Probably due to growing up skiing, winter has always been my favourite season. When I look back on my childhood I remember being in the mountains, playing in the snow with my siblings - making snowmen and igloos, coming in to warm up, drinking hot chocolate and watching endless Christmas movies together! On Christmas Eve we would always put out a big spread of meats and cheeses and snack all day long (including way too many Christmas cookies). Every Christmas Eve we would go ice skating together as a family at Sundance lake. On Christmas morning my dad would always make us get dressed first thing, so we could take family pictures in front of the tree. I always remember being my jealous of the families who got to stay in their jammies - probably why I love pyjamas so much now! After that we did stockings, a big breakfast, presents and then a big turkey dinner with all the extended family. Such warm and happy memories!
To this day we pretty much carry on the exact same traditions. With the addition of my sister, my mom and I starting off the Christmas season early in November each year with our first Christmas market. The more Christmas markets and festive adventures, the better!
- Brenna Valde
Olivia Raposo's Holiday
Christmas, since I was little, is my favourite time of the year because it is filled with so many traditions celebrated with my family. Growing up it was always a tradition to help my dad put the exterior Christmas lights on the house. We always did it, it seems, on the coldest day with the most snow on the ground. He jokes that it's the best way to put up the Christmas lights. It seems that those first few days in December are cold just to keep up with the tradition.
Once the outside is done, our attention turns to the Christmas tree, usually the second Sunday of Advent. My dad and I string the lights on the Christmas tree while my mom carefully unwraps each individual ornament from its storage. Both my sisters complain about having to set up the Christmas tree, a tradition in itself. We put on the Christmas music and spend the afternoon decorating, taking pictures and laughing at how the lights always seem to be so difficult.
My family is Portuguese and a lot of our traditions come from being Portuguese Catholics. In Portugal on Christmas Eve everyone attends midnight mass (Missa do Galo - Rooster's Mass). This is a chance for baby Jesus (and Santa) to bring presents under the tree! This is a tradition we have luckily been able to continue in Calgary having a Portuguese church in our city. We place bets every year to see who will fall asleep during mass! Excited to go home, we listen to Christmas music on the radio and laugh at the priest's rendition of "Feliz Navidad" at the end of mass. Once home, we open one present and then our stockings!
Christmas morning everyone wakes up and gets ready in their fanciest outfit. It has been a tradition that my mom buys everyone a brand new Christmas Day outfit. As we’ve gotten older breakfast includes a classic mimosa with my dad while he impatiently waits for everyone to finish getting ready. Christmas Day has always been chaotic! With Christmas morning spent with my immediate family, then we trek over to my grandmas for lunch and gift opening, make a stop at the cemetery to visit those no longer with us and then off to my aunt's house for the final dinner of the day. (All spread across the city). December 26th is "Catwalk Day" where everyone tries on their new clothes and we take turns showing them off to each other.
This year I am excited to be with family. Although, Christmas will look very different this year, we will still try to keep many of our traditions. Although family gatherings will be small, they will still mean the world to me. Moving across the country the time spent back in Calgary is very limited so the holidays mean so much more and I can't wait to soak in all the holiday and family goodness!
- Olivia Raposo
Wishing you love + light!
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