I have been holding back on writing this post for a little over a week now. Simply because every time I sat down to write I would draw a blank.

We are well into the holiday season. A time that should be full of cheer, happiness, love and laughter. AND – while it still is. I struggle daily with the fact that my Nana is no longer here to enjoy the holidays with the family. A lot of the holiday traditions that I have grown to know and love were those created by my Nana.

My Nana passed away on December 14, 2012 after losing her year long battle to ALS. Only 10 short days before Christmas. One of her favourite holidays next to Thanksgiving. Christmas was less than cheerful last year. I fell sick with a bad chest infection and strep on Christmas Eve. By the time the family found time to celebrate days after Christmas something just didn’t feel right. Someone special was missing. My Nana. To this day I still wish that she had at least that one last Christmas to celebrate with us. I’m sure I would feel that way regardless of when she had passed away.

We’re now approaching the one year anniversary since her loss. To say that I’m not having a hard time would be a lie. I struggle with the ups and downs of grieving daily. Combine that with pregnancy hormones… Let’s just say there are days where plenty of tears are shed.

The last thing my Nana would want  for me to do is wallow, cry and not move forward. So that is something I refuse to do. Rather I plan to move forth by carrying on her traditions with my family.

Christmas at Nana's, 2004
Christmas at Nana’s, 2004

Every Christmas Eve, my Nana would always rush over to our house after dinner bearing a huge box of presents. It honestly felt like Santa came twice every year. My Nana loved to spoil her grandchildren and shower them in love. She would joyfully set out all of the presents under the tree, pop a VHS of Miracle of 34th Street into the VCR, and snuggle up with my brother and I on the couch as we tracked Santa via NORAD on the radio. This goes down in my books as one of my most memorable moments in life. I don’t think anyone will quite understand just how deeply I cherish each and every Christmas Eve that I spent with my Nana.

Nicole on Xmas 1986 - 2 Yrs.
Christmas 1986, 2 years old.

On Christmas morning, we would open our presents, pack up the car and drive up North to spend Christmas with my Nana, Nannie (Great Grandma), and the rest of my Mom’s family. I always looked forward to these Christmases up North. I should mention my Nannie (Great Grandma) passed away on March 17 of this year just a few months after her daughter (my Nana). But – let’s not focus on that.

My Nannie always loved to cook up a great feast, full of turkey, the fixings and many scrumptious desserts. She would always try to force more food down everyone’s throats than ones stomach could handle. My Nannie suffered many strokes over the years that left the right side of her body paralyzed. We still continued on with Christmas once we had her settled into a nursing home. She always loved to just sit there and take in the warmth of the family being together over the holidays. I can’t say I blame her. That is just what Christmas is all about. It isn’t about the presents, but rather spending time with the family.

Christmas at my Nannie's
Christmas at my Nannie’s

Each year my husband and I have a tradition of cooking a small turkey, decorating and watching the Toronto Santa Claus Parade. We were doing exactly that on November 16 of 2008 when we found out that we were expecting our first child after a long journey of trying to conceive.

The day we found out we were expecting our first!
The day we found out we were expecting our first!

We still carry this tradition on with our children. It’s a special day that will always bear great meaning to my husband and I.

Christmas 2008
Christmas 2008

And then there is always those treasured first Christmases.

My daughter's 1st Christmas, 2009
My daughter’s 1st Christmas, 2009
My son's 1st Christmas, 2011.
My son’s 1st Christmas, 2011.

AND – as I reflect I have to say I always look back on each year and remember the excitement I experienced as Christmas neared! I was always so thrilled when the Sears Christmas Wish Book would land on my parents door step. So much so that I would write an obnoxiously long Christmas list for Santa.

I love that I will be able to sit down with my children and browse through the Sears Toy Shop. Browsing the toy shop I can already pick out a few awesome toys that I know my children will both be asking Santa for. Lego, Barbie, Cars and Bratz immediately come to mind. Now the wait just begins to see what the Jolly Ol’ Man himself comes bearing on Christmas Eve!

If you are on Facebook you will want to keep your eye on the Sears Canada Facebook page. Every Friday between November 15 and December 13th Sears Canada will be giving away one of their top and hottest holiday toys!

Although this Christmas may be bittersweet, I look back and smile on all the amazing memories that have been made over the years. I look forward to building on past traditions that I once grew to love with my children. Not only that I look forward to the wealth of memories that are yet to be made!

Disclosure: I’m a Sears Canada Mom Ambassador. As a part of my participation in this campaign I received special perks. All opinions expressed on this blog are those of my own.

2 Comments on Building on Past Holiday Traditions

  1. Brandy
    November 16, 2013 at 5:16 am (4 years ago)

    Beautiful post Nicole. Christmas is a hard time for me as well as many of my great memories surround spending it with my grandparents. The best we can do is live on and try our best to make get traditions for our own families.

    Love the flashback photos! 🙂


1Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Building on Past Holiday Traditions

  1. […] It’s the eve of Christmas Eve, and something I’m looking quite forward to is opening my tree gifts with the family tomorrow. Nestling into our new Christmas PJs with a cup of holiday egg nog and watching Miracle on 34th Street. This has been a tradition that I have been accustomed to since my childhood. A tradition that bears great meaning to me. […]

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