With the holidays fast approaching, we asked some of our favourite Canadians what they recall most about holidays past.
A festive crèche
"My favourite holiday memory is when my parents would bring us down to Cattle Point in Victoria, B.C., to collect moss to build our extra-large nativity scene. It was always fun building the intricate scene under the tree, complete with 'salt' footpaths, and tinfoil spring water 'lakes.'"
-- Nelly Furtado, multiplatinum recording artist
Celebrating with family
"I was 12 years old, it was Christmas day and I was miserable. We were in the hospital visiting my father, who was dying of colon cancer, while my very pregnant mother desperately tried to keep a festive atmosphere. My father held my hands and told me that it was my job from now on to ensure that every Christmas was a happy one. A year later my house was so overly decorated in every festive theme imaginable, that it made everyone smile. It was the first time I had heard my newly widowed mom laugh all year. I have kept my promise every year, and not every Christmas since has been perfect, but I make sure that my home is always jam packed with friends and family. There are never enough comfy chairs, my turkey is always dry and there is usually some form of family spat during the day, but overall, it's always a hugely happy day."
-- Debbie Travis, designer and television host of From The Ground Up
Deck the halls
"My favourite thing every year was the big trip to the roof attic to get the Christmas tree in a box and the decorations with my dad. I remember the attic smelled musty and was cold and my dad always told me, 'don't touch the insulation -- it's not cotton candy!' [The attic] still smells like Christmas to me."
-- Michael Bublé, five-time Juno Award-winning singer
An alternative Christmas
"My family celebrates the baby Jesus thing on Christmas Eve, which means Christmas Day is a day of Playstation 2 and nine hours of NBA basketball on TV. Nothing beats Christmas with a side order of Shaq vs. Kobe. Marv Albert, Snapper Jones and Bill Walton will always be the three wise men to me. I close the day with a late movie with my friends who either don't celebrate Christmas or need reprieve from their loved ones."
-- George Stroumboulopoulos, host of CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight
Page 1 of 2 -- Jean Little, Natalie McMaster, Robert Munsch and others share their favourite holiday memories on page 2
"Last year, a few days before Christmas, everyone gathered together at my brother-in-law's place in Lakefield, Ont. The night was spectacular -- it was one of those beautiful, clear nights, where the light of the full moon reflects off the snow and everything looks bright. My brother-in-law hitched up his team of horses with a large sleigh and took the whole party down into the woods where a large campfire was waiting for us. I had never been on a sleigh ride before, and it was awesome! With the fire, the moon and the night, Christmas was in the air for sure."
-- Natalie MacMaster, Juno Award-winning fiddler
"On New Year's Eve in the winter of 1999, we were in Nova Scotia with my friends and family to ring in the New Year. Midnight was approaching, so we put on our skates and headed out to Dad's perfect, hockey-sized pond. The night was spectacular. The stars were out and there was no sound but our skates, the champagne popping, tons of laughs and our rendition of Auld Lang Syne, which, if I may say, was a FINE rendition. We sang a few extras just because!"
-- Melanie Doane, Juno Award-winning recording artist
|"Every Christmas my father would sit down all of his nine children around the Christmas tree and read us the Christmas story from the Bible. As we got older we continued to come for that reading and my father continued the tradition until he was 90 and could no longer do it."
-- Robert Munsch, renowned children's author
||"Growing up in Ottawa, my family spent the holiday season across the river in Quebec at the Prime Minister's residence at Harrington Lake. It was nothing short of a winter wonderland, a gorgeous frozen lake (great for hockey and skating) as well as groomed hiking trails, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
"In the days leading up to Christmas, the extended family would descend on the house and we would share a traditional Canadian Christmas together; from tree-trimming to turkey, you name it, we did it."
|"Every year, for nearly the past 40 years, we throw what I call a 'Dickens party,' where we invite a group of people to come over to my house and read through Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol from cover to cover. Everyone has to read, and every year the guest list changes. It's so much fun to watch the expressions on the faces of the first-timers. It's the thing I look forward to most at Christmas time and all my favourite holiday moments come from every year of this party."
-- Jean Little, renowned children's author
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