When you move country you choose which path you wish to take, whether or not to embrace the culture or stick to what you know best – being Irish. I’ve decided to mash the two together and embrace all my old traditions of this time of year and welcome the new. As the most wonderful time of the year soon began approaching so did the Canadian winter weather and of course our fur trimmed coats.
As Gary and I experienced
freezing to death cold weather for the first time in our lives ( -10 with a wind shield of -19!) I thought about how even the weather was such a huge culture shock to our system. Fortunately I love the snow + am anticipating the opportunity to do snow angels in the middle of the road facing our condo. (While Gary looks out the window and takes pictures as its too cold to not wear gloves at all times.)
The biggest Christmas highlight of Irish TV and of course a big tradition in the Dicker household is everyone coming together (with multiple selection boxes) to watch The Late Late Toy Show +to see Ryan Tubridy’s Christmas Jumper ( I mean sweater for all the Canadians) .
In what seemed to be perfect timing I got home from work (5 hours behind the Irish), stuck on my christmas PJ’s , opened up a selection box with a cuppa tea + Gary and I sat down to watch the Toy Show a mere 4000 miles away.
What was the nicest part of the evening was receiving pictures of my nieces + nephews from home all cosy in their PJ’s and the welcoming note as the show started..
” This is a night when the whole family get together, and a big hello to all the people in America, Canada, Australia + New Zealand. You are all at home now the Toy Show is on. So I hope you enjoy it wherever you are.”
The same weekend all the Irish tune in to the Toy Show, the Canadians merge together to mark the official start to the holiday season in Toronto, with the celebration of the Cavalcade of Lights. With the illumination of Toronto’s official Christmas Tree comes an amazing fire work display, while an ice skating rink houses the middle of Nathan Phillips Square. The festive event is a holiday tradition in Toronto and as we joined the tradition on the 47th year, I find we will add this to our new Christmas tradition list in the future.
One of the hardest traditions to miss out on this year will be visiting my Nana & Granda’s house. For as long as I can remember, my family and all my extended family would come together at my Nana’s as early as possible on Christmas morning. Usually the day starts with Christmas music blarring from the Kitchen, where nana would be sitting in her chair in the corner while the rest of the family squashed in to eat all the turkey + ham (before the dinner), drink – not just tea, sing, dance + laugh! The whole day would be spent there, with mainly all the cousins congregating in the sitting room, watching awful TV (Top of the Pops Christmas special) and eating as many tins of sweets as possible. Some of the best memories were made here that we can all cherish forever. Unfortunately this Christmas brings sadness for the family as its the first without nana, but that does’t mean her spirit won’t be alive in all of us.
Our last Christmas with Nana 2012
In embracing the Canadian craft of Ginger bread houses I decided to bring my Nana & Granda’s house to me and keep the tradition alive ( in an edible form of course).
The process was extremely
filling fun as I ate 3 lbs of icing sugar along the way – thanks to Madelaine. The little house was built together with a solid foundation of love, strength + unity just like my Nana’s. The ginger bread house will for sure be on my new list of traditions.
Of course I wanted to interpret as many Irish decorations on my tree as possible. The reindeer is a reminder of the decoration my mam has put on our tree for years! Now I have my own tree, I found the exact decoration here in Canada, so I stuck it on just so I can remember her every time I see it. The postcard is a cute little decoration my sister sent to me, which is also a bit of home + of course the sheep for obvious reasons.
The nicest picture I received from my mam this weekend was a picture of my Christmas stocking hanging perfectly from my fire place at home. As I hold on to old traditions so does she, but as I embrace the new ones here in Toronto she must also embrace the new ones she will be facing + creating at home.