Christmas Old-Fashioned Style

By Angèle There are always a million things to do during the holiday season, but how much is really what matters to you? I know that for me, concentrating on the basics and creating traditions that my child (and her mother) look forward to every year is what matters. So if you’re looking for a simpler Christmas, even an old-fashioned Christmas, here’s a good place to start.

Heritage Villages Cumberland Museum (East of Orleans)

On a late Sunday afternoon last December, my daughter and I, along with friends, went to the Cumberland Museum to experience the Vintage Christmas Village of Lights.  We admired twinkle lights as we walked in the dark and sang carols on our horse-drawn wagon ride.  We then decorated gingerbread men in the old town hall (yes, we ate most of the icing straight from the bag), and admired the handmade decorations in the schoolhouse. Of course, after warming up with hot chocolate around the camp fire, we saw Santa in a very old, charming house. We left filled with Christmas spirit; it was an event to remember.

Needless to say, I plan on going back this year:

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in December, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Families (two adults and unlimited children) $18.

Upper Canada Village (South of Ottawa, in Morrisburg) We haven’t been to Upper Canada Village’s Alight at Night Festival yet, but if it’s anything like what we can do and see there during the summer, it will be impressive. Starting November 30th, we can go on a horse drawn wagon ride or on the lit up toy train, spot the Dickens characters and enjoy carollers in the old church or have a traditional Christmas dinner.  Or we can simply stand and stare at the twinkle lights for hours.

It’s definitely worth the drive from Ottawa.

Angèle is a goofy mum to a daughter and a wife to an evil genius (retired, apparently). She’s also a social media strategist, a podcast host and a teacher in training.  In her other life, she’s a fan of fresh air, yoga, good friends, new places and keeping things simple.  She is the author of two blogs: More of Less ( ) and My C Word ( ).  PS. She often overshare. You’ve been warned.

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Gingerbread Houses and New Traditions

One of the nicest things about any holiday are the traditions that accompany them. When I was young we had a few Christmas must-dos, some of which were silly, but we looked forward to them all the same. One was watching Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. Sure, It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol are more traditional, but does anyone get chased by a squirrel? Does Scrooge get tied up with a bow by Bob Crotchet's crazy brother-in-law? No, I thought not. Now that I've left the nest, so to speak, I continue to watch that movie every Christmas Eve. Did you know that the boy who plays Rusty now plays Leonard on Big Bang Theory? It's true. I'm not sure what the squirrel's up to nowadays. Before my husband and I had any children we started a tradition of our own. We like to get a big fancy hot chocolate and tour all the brightly lit homes. We now have a good camera, so hopefully we'll get some really nice photos out of it this year. Now that we have kids, we've been anxious to start some new traditions with them as well. Last year I think we found a keeper: Gingerbread Houses!

My parents have a wonderful old log house in the country. A picture perfect setting for Christmas activities together. We bought two gingerbread houses and a TONNE of candy to decorate them with. At the time Alice was only two and a half, so I wasn't sure if she would sit still long enough to actually decorate anything. I was so wrong! She was very intent on her task and worked hard with her Grandma and Great-Grandma to create the perfect house.

This year we tried it again and had a great time. My mom even made one of the houses from scratch and a number of gingerbread men to decorate as well. One of the great things is how many different generations of family were involved. Aunts, Daughters, Mothers, Grandmothers, Great Grandmothers, and I'm sure the circle will increase as our family does. Next year Alice will be an expert and teach her little sister the tricks of the trade. I love old traditions and stories, but creating new ones with family is an extra special treat.

Jenn is a mom to 3-year-old and 1-year-old girls. She says that talking to herself would just be crazy; so she has a blog instead.

Jenn is a mom to 3-year-old and 1-year-old girls. She says that talking to herself would just be crazy; so she has a blog instead.
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