Christmas time is the greatest time of all to get together with your family and friends.
You’ll have noticed in previous posts that I do say “Merry Christmas” and not Happy Holidays nor Season’s Greetings. I am not trying to be rude nor ignorant of the fact that I’m not being “politically correct” because not everyone celebrates Christmas. No, in my opinion, I am just being Canadian.
Being Canadian means that we are a multicultural country and we recognize each other’s uniqueness in language, dress, food preferences and various celebrations throughout the year. We say Happy Diwali at the Hindu Festival of Lights that is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. We say Eid Mubarak, a traditional Muslim greeting, on the festivals of Eid ul-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr. We say Gung Hay Fat Choy for Chinese New Year. We respect one another’s cultures. We all live in Canada, and for that reason, I will continue to say Merry Christmas at this time of the year!
This year’s Christmas at our house was wonderful. It’s always good to see the family and of course eat some delicious turkey with mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing…oh, I better stop before I make everyone hungry again and you’ll want more. My Man barbecued our bird this year!
But don’t despair, it’s okay to want more because this is just our first Christmas of the season. As Ukrainian- Canadians, we also celebrate Ukrainian Christmas on January 7. (Coming soon – new blogs and I’ll be adding more authentic Ukrainian Christmas recipes).
When I was growing up in my small prairie village, our family like many other Ukrainian families, celebrated two Christmases.
We celebrated December 25 because school was out for the holidays and our dad had time off from his work for a few days.
It was at this time that I went with my friend Gingersnap to her Pentecotal church. Yes, here I was a good Ukrainian Catholic girl attending another church! Gasp, some would even think it blasphemous! Really…that’s the way some people in our small town thought back then. I hope that it’s changed.
I remember this one year at her church in particular. We sang English Christmas carols, read poems and I even had a part in the Nativity play that year. I was Mary and I got to wear an old bedsheet and cradle my own “Ginger” doll (aka baby Jesus). I felt very special being the mother to the baby Jesus. Mom came and watched me but we never told anyone at our church about this special time.
At the end of the church concert, we were all given bags of candy to take home. This is a good memory for me. I can still see, smell and feel the little brown paper bag filled with hard rock candy and most importantly, a real Christmas orange. This was a real treat for our family because we never had a lot of money and could never afford to buy these special Christmas oranges. I used to think that this church and all of its people were so kind. They welcomed us and shared their good wishes with us even if we really “didn’t belong”.
I learned a long time ago that it doesn’t matter where or when you celebrate Christmas. It’s not about the decorations, the gifts or even the food. Christmas is about the people you share time with.
No matter what nationality or what greeting you gave to one another this past Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful memorable day filled with love.
Come back in a few days and I will tell you about celebrating our second Christmas – a Ukrainian-Canadian Christmas!
Happy New Year!
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