Celebrating the traditions and memories of a special season.


The cold of winter also brings up warm memories of holidays past. From cherished times with loved ones, to the lighting of candles, to the childhood thrill of opening presents - so many of us have special times we associate with this time of year, each unique in its own way.

To honour this rich season of togetherness and traditions, we wanted to highlight just a few nostalgic and reflective memories that make these holidays meaningful for others. 

"We hid our gifts for at least one night of Hanukkah, then played 'hot/cold' to find them. Didn’t matter how small the gift was, there was fun in the hunting game. Also we had one night when the kids went through their toys to find items in good shape to donate. It was a 'better to give than receive' night." - KARIN HIRSCHKATZ


"I would trudge through near-blizzard conditions, wrapped in layers and stuffed into snow boots, to share in my childhood best friend’s evening Hanukkah celebrations. They generally culminated in a rousing round of dreidel - or perhaps a white-knuckle game of Sorry - which began moments after her grandmother lit the candles on her menorah . . .

I didn’t discover my Jewish ancestry until later in life. But despite this, the connection to Jewish traditions, and to the warm and generous people who shared them, helped shape my formative years." - STACEY BIRO


The Mexican Christmas tradition I enjoyed most as a child is called Las Posadas. Even today, when I hear the lyrics of the Las Posadas song, or smell a cup of Mexican ponche, or watch kids swinging at a piñata, all those fond memories come rushing back to me. - SILVIA MARTINEZ

"On January 1, the last day of Kwanzaa, I pay homage to my maternal grandmother by whipping up a big pot of black-eyed peas to continue the Southern tradition of eating them on New Year’s Day to bring good luck in the coming year. My grandmother didn’t celebrate Kwanzaa, but I’m so thankful that I can honor her memory and those of my African ancestors when my family celebrates our version." - RICHE HOLMES GRANT


"When my father died, I held onto his Kinara (candle holder) and Umoja (unity cup) that we had used years ago for our Kwanzaa celebration. I keep both out all year long . . .

When I get together with my friends throughout the year, we have conversations that are reflective of the beauty and power that I experienced years ago when I celebrated Kwanzaa at my father’s house."  - IRIS JASMIN


"[We’re a] secular southern hemisphere family, with an anthropologist mum who loves festivals, gift exchange, and feasting - I like to celebrate the passage of the year/life. We do "Christmas" on the 24th (hang up from my husband's German heritage) and its a celebration of the coming of the wet season . . .

We bring a small palm in & decorate it with lights and little frog/butterfly/mushroom/raindrop ornaments that we've made over the years." - SATIREW 


What feelings come up for you during winter holidays? Are there any traditions that you keep or hope to continue?

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