The Truth About Holiday Traditions.
It’s pretty simple actually, it just took me a little while to figure it out.
We have a small family here in Canada. In fact, there is only my parents, siblings and my kids. We are a close unit, we talk practically every day and see each other as often as we can. Back home in El Salvador, we have a big family. My Abuelita from my Mom’s side had 11 children and they’ve all had their own children and even great grand babies at this point. We also have family in the US and Australia, but we are the only ones out here in Canada.
Even though we are small in number here, we are very close. The holidays are a time when we all get together and just spend time together. We eat our favorite meals, watch movies and just talk sometimes. The holiday celebrations are grand in our country, full of music, good food and drink and even fireworks. The parties are filled with family and run until really late. Back home here in Canada, things aren’t as grand, but they are just as loud and filled with love and family.
I have very fond memories of our holidays. Even down to our first Christmas here in Canada. Our parents moved us here with just 3 large suitcases and a dream for a brighter future for their kids. Our first Christmas was a memorable one due to the kindness of our Canadian sponsors. They brought over gifts, decorations and food, and made us feel welcome. Every year after that, we celebrated with much gratitude.
I knew that my Mom would be preparing the house for friends and family to enjoy the holidays when I could smell the crisp and clean aroma of Pine-Sol permeating our house; I just knew that in a few hours’ times we would be eating a good meal and having a blast.
The smell itself evokes the feeling of happiness and the comfort of cleanliness. I remember coming home from school to that familiar scent and breathing it in made me smile. I can still hear her asking one of us to get her the “Pine-Sol” in her Spanish accent. Actually, I say it in the same accent because that’s how it’s always been said in our house.
That piny scent is the reason why I use it myself in our home and lo and behold–my girls love how Pine-Sol smells. When I’m getting the house clean and guest-ready for the holidays, you can guess what the house smells like. Now they know that in a few hours they will be with family and with their tummies filled.
Apart from my Mom passing down the cleaning gene to both my sister and I, we also have some traditions from back home that we do with our girls. Of course, we decorate our tree together and every year the girls take turns putting up the star. We always leave carrots for the reindeer and cookies and egg nog for old Saint Nick. We decorate a gingerbread house every year too and the girls absolutely love it.
A tradition that I have passed on to the girls from my own childhood is a Spanish tradition of opening a gift on Christmas Eve and in the morning they will find a gift under their beds. It’s an ode to how we received our gifts from Santa Claus in El Salvador.
One thing that we have started on our own is collecting Christmas ornaments. Ornaments that celebrate important milestones, others that evoke memories of where we have travelled.
The truth about the holidays is that they are all about family and the traditions in which we partake in together. It doesn’t matter if you have a small family or a huge family with a crazy Uncle Fred. Whether you are near or far–one thing is the same.
It’s the love we all share and the memories we cherish fondly, the traditions we partake in and the new ones we create.
What are your family traditions during the holidays?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
This post is sponsored by Pine-Sol. With a strong heritage and long legacy, Pine-Sol is a long-standing tradition in many Canadian homes. Apart from the classic pine scent, Pine-Sol is also available in a variety of long-lasting scents – mandarin sunrise, lavender, lemon and sparkling wave. You can use different scents throughout your home to change the mood.
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela, and wife to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.