A Memorable Canadian Christmas

After my parent’s house fire, we changed our holiday plans to go to Utah and instead headed north of the border. It’s been a few years since I came to Calgary for Christmas and it’s admittedly my favorite place to be. The reasons are innumerable that include my zany and fun family but it comes down to just one thing: it’s home.

And really, you just can’t compete with that.

One night, my dad and I took the kids to the Calgary Nativity Pageant. Our church has put on this production for 46 years and it’s one of my favorite traditions. It has evolved into an impressive production with a professional set, killer sound system and live animals. One thing that has never changed is the venue: it’s always been held outdoors at Heritage Park.

Because didn’t you know: Bethlehem totally had sub-zero temperatures, too?

But Christmas Eve is hands down my favorite party ever. My brother Pat and sister-in-law host every year and have a huge spread of appetizers, desserts and candy.
We always start the festivities with playing the pipe bells that my Grandpa Wilde cut years ago. I also took the bells to Bode’s kindergarten class and Haddie’s second graders for their Christmas parties.
My family was only moderately better than them.

And that is after years of practice.

Then it’s onto the left-right game….
…wherein it is revealed we can’t decipher our left from our right.

But the climax of the evening is the gift exchange. To let you know just how seriously we take this game, my family often shops months in advance for just the right gifts to battle it out over. Some of the winners included a magic show (that has turned Hadley into an amateur magician), light sabers for Bode, and bacon candy canes that were unceremoniously ripped out of my possession.
But the real humdinger of the night was when my brother Pat, on the last trade of the evening, got stuck with the Santa toilet paper and pink, vibrating slippers.

Every year, Jane buys everyone matching PJs but this year, my niece Emily made them for most everyone for her final Personal Progress project for church.

Except for the late-comers like us who decided we were coming just a few days before Christmas. Regardless, Jane made sure we were still adequately outfitted.
As for Christmas day, I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures! The kids had already opened most of their gifts in Denver so it was nice to not be so focused on the material side of the holidays.

Though they were certainly not lacking with a bike for Bode, a desk for Haddie, movies, Wii games, craft supplies, clothes, and movies. Probably the favorite present was from my mom who saved me from a parenting fail. My kids have always loved stuffed animals and I have never taken them to Build-a-Bear.

I know, Bad Mom.

But who can blame me after seeing those prices? For two animals and two outfits, my mom paid $90. “Birthday Cake” bear is Haddie’s newest treasure and Bode fell in love with another “Tabby.”

Those were sure swell selections but I was remiss when they turned me down for my bear de choix: A Canadian Bear in a Mountie Costume.

Serves me right for birthing Americans.

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