Hope everyone is doing amazing this Christmas season. I know the holidays look a lot different for many people this year as we navigate all of the uncertainties 2020 has brought us. A major change for my family this year has been the limitations on travel – something I have loved to do. Travel for me has always been more than just the destination but getting to meet the people and experience new culture.
Since no one is travelling abroad this holiday season I thought it would be fun to explore some of the Christmas traditions from around the globe! I have been lucky enough to experience some of these traditions first hand – and others hear about them from members of their culture!
Christmas time looks a lot different for me in my adulthood vs my childhood. For those of you do not know I grew up in Australia. Christmas time often consisted of celebrations by the pool and boxing day barbecues – not exactly how my family now celebrates in Canada!
My husband is half Ukrainian and our family has adopted a few special traditions from this culture. In Christmas’ past when celebrating with my husband’s family we have done the traditional 12 Ukrainian dishes for Christmas eve. The 12 delicious dishes represent the 12 apostles and all have special meanings. The dishes are all meatless as it is tradition to fast on Christmas eve to remember the hardships mother Mary faced that evening en route to Bethlehem. Musically speaking, one of my favourite Christmas songs is actually Ukranian! Carol of the Bells, which is featured on my album Christmas Classics with Chantal Dube, is an adaptation of this song:
My family had a mix of different traditions from the British side, and the Scottish side and of course, and a little French and Dutch from the mix we are, and the Aussie in all of us! The night before Christmas we always had Buche de Noel, which as kids, we called the log cake, and my Dad would light angel chimes and we would sit and watch them…angel chimes are popular in Europe and my Dutch great grandmother handed this tradition down. My Dad often played the organ at the evening services at our Church, and we’d try to stay awake if we went, or we’d head to bed early with a tonne of excitement about Santa Claus’ impending visit…
On Christmas Day, we would always have roast turkey, but often a little Aussie additions like roast lamb, and on occasion some seafood, sitting my the pool! Christmas outside in Canada with potential negative temperatures is not really idea!! It does however, match the expectations we had as children of a white Christmas, which we only experienced in American movies.
We would always light the pudding on fire after we had all had too much and then, while opening gifts, the atheist side of the family would usually debate those celebrating the birth of Jesus and praying, and then we’d usually swim or go for a walk.
Here in Canada, our family has adopted some Canadian traditions as well- lots of ginger bread house making and cookie decorating, and loads of outdoor snow activities! We absolutely love cookie decorating, and making ginger bread houses, and last year we got to go to the world’s largest real ginger bread house at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto! I’m grateful that we have these memories.
We also LOVE the tradition of the advent calendar… we have one that we fill ourselves and the kids LOVE the countdown! My eldest is the only one who gets it so far – to my youngest ones I’m sure they just see it as a fancy chocolate box lol.
Matching Christmas PJs is an American tradition we have loved as well!
Working around the globe, I have seen and heard about many different Christmas traditions… tell me about yours?
Inspired by Sophie’s travels around the globe, The Journey is a tasty collection of global music inspired solo violin pieces written by Sophie & Pavlo, with some of Sophie’s favorite covers. Originally released in 2014, this album is back with some bonus tracks just in time for Christmas! Click here to buy!
‘Christmas Classics’ presents a stunning compilation of instrumental holiday songs featuring Toronto-based harpist Chantal Dubé
What a year 2020 has been – I can’t believe December is already here! It has been a while since my last blog but my family has been keeping quite busy- and I would love to give you an inside look.
My family made the move west from Calgary to beautiful Kelowna in September of this year. The past few months have been filled with packing/unpacking, getting the kids settled in a new school and getting our bearings in our new city! All of the work aside we have still been able to make some memories and have some fun!
I celebrated my 40th birthday in early October! I had been planning my 40th birthday celebration for years to be filled with beaches, Luau’s and mai tais. Although I wasn’t able to go to Maui with friends and family like the original plan we made the best of it here in Kelowna. My family finally got to check out the Quails Gate Winery and Old Vines restaurant. We had a beautiful dinner – followed by walking through the picturesque vineyards. It was still a perfect birthday, I am always so grateful to spend time with my friends and family no matter where we are! 2020 has taught me a lot about going with the flow and being able to adapt – perhaps Maui for my 41st?
Although the uncertainty of this year has put a pause on most live performances for me, I have still been busy working! I have been working hard on a video which will be released December 1st to one of my all time favourite worship songs “Shout to the Lord”. The song features Juno Award nominee Mark Masri and I, together with pianist Delyle Polet. This song is so close to my heart and I cannot wait to share it with you – I hope you love it as much as I do!
Kelowna has some great venues that I am so excited to perform at in the future. Recently I had the chance to film a live show for my Patreon Members at the Kelowna Community Theatre. I’m definitely planning on doing this again soon! It’s strange to broadcast only, with no one physically in the audience, but I definitely don’t feel alone with you guys tuned in!
One of the things our kiddos miss most about Calgary are our family trips to Made by Marcus ice cream shop. We love spending little moments with our kids like this that have turned into some of our favourite family past times. Recently, we were lucky enough to stumble upon Parlour Ice Cream in downtown Kelowna. I have a feeling this will be our new go-to spot for our little family – very delicious! It was also great to go to Church in person again!
As Christmas approaches we are trying to make this year feel as normal as it can for our little ones. One of our favourite family traditions is going to a tree farm as a family to hand pick our Christmas Tree. What a beautiful morning we had at “Grumpy’s Tree Farm”. The tree farm looks like a set straight out of a hallmark movie set! If you are in the area and are in the market for a Christmas tree you should definitely check it out!
I truly hope that all of you are staying healthy and find yourself optimistic of a fresh year quickly approaching! Now that we are finally settling into our new home, I promise to be in touch again soon! A lot of exciting things are coming up for me and I cannot wait for you to be a part of it.
You guys! I am thrilled to announce a musical collaboration to support Kelowna Gospel Mission recorded in isolation with voice by The Juno Awards – nominee, Mark Masri and keys by Delyle Polet from Holy Trinity Church Calgary worship team! Shout to the Lord, written by Darlene Zschech, is one of my favourite worship songs that I have sung in church since I was a little girl.
Proceeds from this track will go to Kelowna Gospel Mission who feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and help the hurting. Download this track, share a picture or video that represents your faith hope and love with the hashtag #ShoutToTheLord to share your faith inspire others! We will be sharing the love here! Share the love and support if you can! Thanks for watching!