Christmas is a season of holiday traditions

Holiday rituals in Oak Bay are as varied as its citizens

Claire Christinel arranges the figurines in her family’s créche

For Natalie West, Christmas just isn’t complete without a certain morning meal.

“We have a traditional breakfast of an egg-and-ham sandwich with fruit,” said West, a receptionist at the Monterey Rec Centre.

“That started when my children were just old enough to eat one. And now they’re 27, 27 and 28.”

West is just one of many Oak Bay residents for whom the season just isn’t complete without specific details falling into place. They’re the traditions which elevate Christmas to another level in the holiday hierarchy.

In Claire Christinel’s Hamiota Street home, the most beloved event of the season is decorating the Christmas tree.

“My two children, from their first year of Christmas, we’ve given them a special ornament each year,” she said. “Every year when we decorate the tree, it’s done right at the end of the day, and we have a finger-food dinner that we put out on the coffee table with festive drinks and Christmas music, and we start to unpack the decorations, which is the part that they love the most because they get to unwrap all these little treasures that they’ve been given year after year.”

Food is central to many holiday celebrations. Local artist Ingrid Fawcett hosts an annual New Year’s dinner with friends and family from all over.

“My sister and her family, and my mom, always arrive from the Lower Mainland and my brother and his twins always come from New York,” she said. “Cousins, friends, nieces and nephews have come from Toronto, London, California, Washington and the Netherlands. It’s always a surprise who will attend and (there is) always a full house.”

Other traditions in the Fawcett household include decorating the Christmas tree with fresh orchids and hosting an It’s a Wonderful Life movie night with family and friends.

As well, her family usually visits Butchart Gardens on Christmas eve.

Fawcett’s friends Jude Isabella and Tobin Stokes take a decidedly different approach. Their tradition is to not have traditions.

“One year we made pizza, we had a goose, one year we had curry,” Isabella said. “Nobody wants to clean up Christmas dinner, so we don’t have an elaborate one.”

She has lights up in her home year-round, so they don’t make a special effort to decorate around the holidays. She and Stokes often, however, decorate their fig tree. This year they’re heading to Whistler to “stay in a yurt and (go snowshoeing),” and possibly cut down a tree.

“We’ll get something pathetic,” Isabella said with a laugh, explaining that a small tree is easier to cut up and burn in the couple’s wood stove once the holidays are over.

When Darlaine Bagshaw was a child, games and music made her Christmas season special.

She remembers playing endless games of crokinole with her cousin and being offered a deal by the adults in the family.

“My mom and my aunt would say, ‘We’ll do the dishes if you two girls want to go and play the piano,’” Bagshaw said.

“So guess what we did? (We went and played) the piano. Those are really good memories.”

Just Posted

Celebrate 50 years of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ and the Apollo 11 moonlanding

‘Ground control to Major Tom’ the countdown is on the 50th anniverary of the moon landing

Views, brews and food on Gulf Islands craft beer cruise

Five day cruise from Sidney to Gulf Islands, includes chef and beer historian

Over 200 lives saved in first year at Victoria’s supervised consumption site

The Harbour celebrates its first anniversary with a report of zero deaths on site

Prolific offender found sleeping in Oak Bay resident’s car

Of 106 calls to 911 last week, eight were abandoned

RCMP confirm foul play in death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Police believe crime an isolated incident

VIDEO: Dashcam video captures moment Victoria cyclist struck

Police seeking cyclist captured in video

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Rare white ravens spotted again in mid-Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

Most Read