Goldstream News Gazette editor Katherine Engqvist’s cat Murray. (Katherine Engqvist/News Gazette staff)

West Shore Family: Spend some time doing what you love

Christmas truly is my favourite time of year. As soon as the calendar hits Dec. 1, the boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations come out. My favourite holiday-themed movies are played on repeat and my custom country Christmas playlist comes out which yes, features “All I want for Christmas is a real good tan” by Kenny Chesney as well as some of the more traditional carols.

My husband picks out the largest tree he can find – sometimes we cut our own, sometimes we go to one of the many fundraisers hosted by local clubs and groups. But most of the time we get the tree home and have to take a large chunk off the bottom because neither one of us can actually remember how tall our ceilings are.

Last year, the addition of a fat orange kitten meant we had to bolt the tree down to a piece of plywood and hide a few broken branches in the back. Thankfully, by that point we’d trained him to stop chewing on electrical cords so we were able to avoid a Griswold’s family Christmas mishap.

We also learned not to leave anything that remotely smelled like food or catnip under the tree…

But that’s what the holidays are all about, making memories. Whether it’s a disastrously raw turkey or the kids tearing through wrapping in the morning, I just like to take a step back during this time of year and take it all in. While that can be challenging with all of the events and chaos that comes along with the holidays, it’s important to remember what this season is about.

One of my favourite traditions is making gingersnap cookies. Growing up on the farm meant making batches of gingersnaps by the dozens to give to friends and family. Actually, if memory serves, my record is making 54 dozen on Christmas. We have an industrial mixer at the farm which means I can mix them all at once, unfortunately it still takes hours to roll out all of those cookies and bake them. But it’s a labour of love and a way to spend some quality time with family members as I usually enlist the help of some unwilling participants. So if you can, take some time to spend with your loved ones, round up a few items for the food bank, and when you’re out shopping, pick up a toy for a child in need.

And if you’re a little behind on your holiday shopping – or even if you’re not – watch the Gazette’s Facebook page in the coming weeks for lots of great contests. Starting Dec. 4 we will be kicking off our 12 Days of Christmas giveaway with tons of great items up for grabs.

– Katherine Engqvist, editor

Find the entire holiday edition of West Shore Family online.

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