I’m heading to Ottawa today to visit my family, fur-sisters and childhood friends. This time of year always makes me overly nostalgic and sentimental. When I first moved away from home I began to fully appreciate the small familiarities I had taken advantage of in my adolescent age. Around this time of year my dad would always ask for my help to hang the lights – I had the best technique for attaching the little plastic hooks to branches that no one in my family could master in minus 20 degree weather. My mom would ask for my help dragging out all the boxes of ornaments and containers full of old Christmas craft projects from when my sister and I were little. The nights would be spent listening to Christmas song after Christmas song. On Christmas Eve my dad would be rushing to get last-minute gifts and waiting for all the poinsettias to go on sale so he could come home and surprise my mom and show off his bargain skills. Then on Christmas Eve we would start a fire in the fireplace, munch on shrimp, veggies and chocolates (my mom couldn’t be bothered to cook before the big feast the next day), and my sister and I were allowed to open one gift.
At the time I hated being in the cold stringing lights, I wished we could just keep ornaments on the tree all year as to not have to unload all those boxes each time, I thought my old crafts from when I was six were dorky, and I’d get annoyed being restricted to just one gift on Christmas Eve like it was some taunting tease my parents planned. Now, those are the things I miss most. Now I have to hear about the lights being strung over the phone. Or wait until I arrive a couple days before Christmas to see the tree my mom has so perfectly decorated and I wish Christmas Eve would never end because it’s one of the happiest moments I have with my family.
So as we are driving the four-hour drive, I will be sitting full of excitement and anticipation for all the wonderful little moments and traditions that I appreciate so much more. It’s those moments that make this time of year my absolute favourite.