Wishing you Peace, Love and Joy

Peace, Love and Joy – I hope you have been able to spend some quality time with friends and family. That the last few days were spent feeling happy and loved. I know that for some, the holiday season can be a sad one. If you knew of someone in need of company, my hope is that you reached out to them with love and compassion.

Christmas at the Goulds: ” Then “

Christmas at our house is different now from when the kids were little. Back then, I had a love for decorating our home, baking cookies and making meat pies from scratch. Our home felt warm and cozy with all it’s greenery, lights and a mix of new and old decorations.

Our tree was what we call a family Christmas tree. It didn’t look like any of the ones you see in magazines, where all the ornaments match, making the tree itself a work of art. Nope… our tree was always a mish-mash of all styles or ornaments, each having a very special meaning. Some were from my childhood, some were from my husband’s childhood, and new ones were added each year, representing our growing family. Our perfect tree.

Christmas at the Goulds: ” Now “

As we all know, change is the one consistent thing in life. And so over the years, our traditions, our decorations, and our ways of celebrating changed. Decorating our home at that level, and putting it all away afterwards, became a huge chore. It wasn’t fun anymore. The last 2 years of decorating at that level were no fun. Not for me, not for my husband and not for the kids.

And so in 2017 I decided to go through all of our decorations and keep only those that felt truly part of our family. I then divided those into 3 piles. One pile for my daughter for when she moves out. One pile for my son for when he moves out. One for us to continue using from this point on. The rest was then donated to other families.

It makes me happy to know the kids will have the decorations they themselves have chosen to keep. That when they move out, they will have with them a little piece of home, of our family, and of childhood memories with them. Evolving Gould Christmas Traditions

The result of downsizing our Christmas decorations is a good one. We have a “cozy minimalist” style Holiday feeling in our home. This “cleanse” hasn’t taken anything away. Instead, it has us more relaxed. More focused on the things that we do have. Decorating is something we look forward to again! 🙂

Conscious gift giving.

Another change that has happened over the years is that we have gone from using wrapping paper, to reusing gift bags, to now using reusable gift boxes. I purchased pretty Christmas themed boxes of different sizes from the Dollarstore for $3 each. We reuse them each year. No more trash bags full of Christmas paper waiting at the curb. That is a great feeling. (Side note – I also have pretty fabric that we use for other special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.)

As far as gift giving goes, we no longer exchange gifts with friends and family. Instead, we share in the gift of our time, our food, our love and our laughter. As parents, we still get a few gifts for our two teenaged kids. They each get one thing that they need, one thing that they want, plus a “fun box” with jammies, a book and a “Christmas movie” snack.

None of these things are overly expensive gifts. They are, however, gifts that have been well thought of, fun to purchase, and given with a whole lot of love.

His family traditions vs her family traditions

Christmas at the Goulds is a mash-mash of old and new traditions. For my husband, Christmas Eve last the Goulds was spent watching Christmas movies and eating a nice home cooked Turkey diner. They would all go to bed early that night so they could wake-up bright and early on Christmas Day to open their gifts. As for me, Christmas Eve at the Monniers was spent with friends and family eating a home cooked chicken diner which always included meat pie. (Gr-maman Monnier’s meat pie recipe. A mix of beef, pork and chicken). We would then play music (piano, guitar, etc), sing, dance, and tell jokes until it was time to attend Christmas mass. After mass, we would go back to the house, eat snacks buffet-style (prepared by Mom and her sisters) and open our gifts. Once the gifts were open, the adults would go play cards in the kitchen until the wee hours of the morning. Us kids were free to play a while with our toys before going to bed.

Christmas at the Goulds… evolving traditions.

As a result of our mixed childhood Christmas memories, we have created our own way of doing things. Christmas Eve is spent just the four of us. Kids and parents having a nice meal, followed by opening gifts and then followed by opening our few gifts. On Christmas Day, my parents come over early to late afternoon. We talk, play cards, laugh and take lots of pictures. At supper time, we have a nice home cooked meal where there is always meat pie included, prepared from scratch by either Mom or I.

Nancy…. Hold up! What? Meat pie? You eat meat pie? Aren’t you a vegetarian???? — Over the years I have been a vegetarian, a vegan, then went back to eating meat, only to go back to a plant-based diet. (my body and mind are at it’s happiest when eating a plant-based diet.). But yes, on Christmas Day I do have a bit of meat pie. The meat comes from a farmer my mother knows. A very nice man who treats his animals with respect, love and dignity. (I know… please don’t judge me.) The meat pie, for me, is a deep connection to my roots on my Dad’s side of the family.

Wishing you Peace, Love and Joy

The MOST important thing to me about Christmas, about the Holiday season, about traditions and about what I hope you take away from this post…. is that your heart is filled with Peace, Love and Joy. That you do whatever is right for you and for your family. Whatever fills your home and your heart with Peace, Love and Joy is the right thing for you. Embrace it. Honour it. Make it your own.

From my family to yours, whatever religion you may or may not practice.. may you and yours be filled with Peace, Love and Joy.

Yours in health, happiness and success, Nancy Shimmy

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