Simple Christmas

Kids in the Capital is pleased to welcome back Antonia Cetin to the blog. Antonia is an educator and the author of You’ve Got This, Mom! A Mother’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Modern World.

Sometimes, I feel like my parents had an easier life than parents do today. There were less expectations on parents and less things to do and to purchase. At Christmas time, these expectations just get amplified as we seek to create the perfect Christmas experience for our kids. This idea of a perfect Christmas makes me look back and ask myself - what were the best Christmas memories for me growing up?


We didn’t have big plans to go on faraway trips; we didn’t have lots of presents; and we certainly didn’t have a schedule of events to attend and to follow. Yet, I have such fond memories of Christmas. For me, it’s not the presents and things that I remember about Christmas. It’s the people and feelings.

I remember trudging outside in the snow with my dad on Christmas Eve searching the sky in anticipation of spotting Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, invariably coming back disappointed to find out he had already been and gone and we’d missed him yet again. What are the chances, right? I remember the smell of coffee in the kitchen while making cake with my mom. We dunked arrow cookies in coffee to soften them and layered them on a plate with nutella spread between the layers. I know it’s hard to believe but some of those cookies didn’t make it into the pan. The memory is delicious and there wasn’t even any baking involved! I remember going to Christmas mass and singing my heart out with other happy and excited children, and admiring the decorations and nativity. And, I remember playing Aggravation with my parents and mostly losing to my dad, being aggravated sometimes to the point of crying when my little man got sent back to start again and again…but always wanting to play more because I loved that we played together.

All of the things I remember are simple things. And, sometimes I feel like today, we get so caught up in trying to make Christmas perfect for our kids: getting them the best presents, and organising the perfect activities. So, I invite you this Christmas holiday to accept a challenge. It’s simple but it’s not easy: resist scheduling every minute, and go easy on yourself with the presents. Instead, create simple memories with your kids and enjoy slowing down.

If you’re looking for me this Christmas, I may be playing mini-sticks in the basement. I currently hold the title of undefeated mini-sticks champion in our household. The first and only time I played with my spouse I won and I will not give him a rematch. Ever! Alas, I think my days as champ are numbered though because my 13 year old son is taking up more space in his net! The nerve! Serves me right for feeding him!

You may also find me on the playstation creating a city on Minecraft because that’s what my son likes to do. You may find me sipping hot chocolate by the fire with a lively and less stressful game of Aggravation or Crib or Uno or Risk. Or, you may find me coaching the snowman making from the warmth of my porch. But, one thing is for sure, I will be slowing down and making time for my people and enjoying the memories we are creating of our not so perfect Christmas. Wanna come over and play?