Christmas in Canada
Every two years we go to Ottawa for Christmas. It is my very favorite time of the year. It’s snowy (usually) and cheerful (always); we spend so much time catching up with family and friends and it feels like we only saw them yesterday — even if it has been two years (or more) since our last hang. And, of course, we eat an absurd number of Montreal-style bagels from either Ottawa Bagelshop & Deli (our fave) or Kettleman’s (open 24/7, so hello of course we’re also there a lot). I could write a thesis on why the Montreal-style bagel is the superior bagel. But that’s for another day. Here are some snaps from the holidays this year!
My Uncle Marco turned 60 a week before Christmas, so my aunt threw him a surprise party when they got to Ottawa (they live outside of Boston) with his family, high school buddies, former hockey teammates and coworkers. He got a little suspicious in the car on the way over, and then he saw one of his high school friends in the parking lot right before walking inside — spoiled. We almost had him! It was such a fun night. He’s not a big birthday guy or a big center-of-attention guy, so it was so lovely to see him showered with all the love and kindness he gives to others. He’s the best.
Christmas Eve traditions — church with family (this year we went to lunch and church with my mom’s side of the family; I was a failure and took only a couple pictures of the church and none of us in it) and reading The Polar Express. Every year my mom tries to tell me I’m too old, and every year I find a way to get the book read. This year I snuck it in my suitcase to Canada and whipped it out as a surprise on Christmas Eve. Take that, Cheryl!
On Christmas morning we opened presents at our Airbnb then went over to my Auntie Brenda’s house for breakfast, where Karen, Marco, Jacquie, and Coco stay over Christmas.
My dad’s side of the family has a huge dinner on Christmas Day, hosted by his cousin and her husband, with close to 40 people drinking wine, eating turkey, playing road hockey, taking photos, and just generally loving one another.
This picture is of me, Jacquie, second cousin Alyssa, Erin, and Coco. We’ve been taking the same one since 2008 (only missing 2010, when we went to Florida for Simon’s soccer tournament instead of Canada over Christmas).
I have zero photos from Boxing Day, when we ate pizza and played games at my nana’s apartment. We took a picture with her and her grandkids that my Auntie Karen is going to frame and gift to her at her 90th birthday in February. And zero pictures from the 27th, when I spent 15 hours in the car with my parents driving back to North Carolina. It was a too-quick trip, as per usual, but filled with lots of love and laughter. I’ll be back in Ottawa in about a month to celebrate my nana’s birthday and cannot wait!