Thursday, November 15, 2007


Every family, regardless of size, wealth, or religious perspective, has their own Christmas traditions. In my family, there wasn't always a lot of extra money for lavish presents, but it didn't matter; Christmas was about family.

Christmas was always the one day of every year where my brother, sister and I were not pinching, biting, hitting, slapping or otherwise beating the crap out of each other. This Christmas truce also coincided with my Dad's one day off. (He worked very, very hard at his own business, with clients and contacts around the world, and Christmas was the only day they weren't calling.)

The day would start with the three of us waking up unreasonably early, to jump on our parents in bed. We learned very early that parents would much prefer to get up than have 3 children jumping and screaming all over them. It was the perfect plan. In later years (say, post 13), Melo and Adam would wake me up in the same manner before dragging me off to ambush Mom & Dad.

From there, we would all go grab our stockings and open them up in bed together. (the 3 of us would trade our candy because Mom never could remember who liked what) Then came the sugar coma as we waited for dad to pop breakfast in the oven. Breakfast was always either fruit, cheese & croissants, or "Christmas Morning Mom Saver" which was something like a strata.

After Breakfast, we would eat still more chocolate while waiting for Grandma & Grandad. When they arrived we'd open presents one by one, with lots of pictures, and 'oooohing & aaahhhing'.

Brayford family Christmas dinner has always been quite the production. Mom would do most of the cooking in the days leading up to Christmas, so she had more time than most Moms Xmas day. Half the time we would have a wonderful turkey with 'brayford stuffing', mashed potatoes (which my brother & I would make sculptures with, but never eat.), sweet potato & apple bake, green bean casserole & dessert. Other years we had Ham, Steak, or even lamb. Then, there were the 'creative' years where Mom was sick of turkey and decided to do something 'different'. One of those years, we had Tandoori Chicken with creamed spinach. At least it was red & green...

In recent years, our traditions have changed along with our family. Dinners included friends, & significant others, and we started having to feed Grandma & Grandad booze to loosen them up enough to allow them to relax and enjoy themselves. I'll never forget the Christmas when my straight-laced, retired school teacher and principal Grandad got up at the dinner table and did his impression of Britney Spears: "Look at me, I'm Britney Spears! Look at my navel! Look at my everything!" Luckily, clothes stayed put, but there was a frightening amount of gyrating. I have to admit I'm somewhat scarred for life. Thinking back on it, I think he was making reference to how well us kids had turned out, unlike poor 'Britney'. I guess it was a compliment...
This year, Sean and I will be starting our own traditions. We'll be spending Christmas with his family out in New Brunswick, then we'll have a "Ukrainian Christmas" (not that either of us has even a drop of Ukrainian blood- it's just convenient!) here. While I will miss my old traditions, I'm looking forward to building new ones with Sean.

1 comment:

Jody King said...

We will try to ease you into our family traditions. Okay, probably not - just go with the flow. In all honesty they have changed a bit in the past few years with Sean being away and Sawyer being born. After this Christmas, we should have figured out what our family traditions are...for future reference.