Last weekend marked the beginning of our family's countdown to Christmas with the Toronto Santa Claus parade.
We used to watch the parade in person, braving the crowds and huddling up on the curb of the city street for hours in our coats and hats and scarves and mittens, a blanket laid out to mark our territory and warm our legs as we waited for hours in the cold winter wind for Santa Claus to come to town.
Since moving to the suburbs, though, we've started a new tradition of watching the parade on TV. We turn on the fireplace, put on our Santa hats and curl up on the couches together with steamy mugs of hot chocolate and a big platter of Christmas cookies. It's a wonderful family memory made - and much cozier than six hours spent curbside in the cold and wind.
The Christmas countdown weekend started with endless Christmas baking, the kitchen a floury mess and every surface piled high with bowls of sugar and flour and dough and cookie sheets and cooling racks and plates and platters filled with my specialty shortbread and gingerbread (recipe here!). The kids love to "help" with the baking, making the project much less efficient but a good deal messier and more fun.
Our house was bedecked from top to bottom with glitter and gold.
Gold ornaments clustered in bowls on every available surface, adorning the branches of every house plant, and dripping from every mirror.
My favourite glittery retro-chic mod wire Christmas tree decorations on the fireplace mantel and in a corner of every room.
And the ridiculously awesome kitschy-cool Santa's village train set complete with twinkling lights, tinkling Christmas carols and a moving train.
After the parade we wrote our letters to Santa and started in on a couple of fun Christmas crafts. Next weekend we'll bundle up and head to Main Street for the local Santa Claus parade and visit the mall to meet Santa himself. The following weekend is our town's tree lighting ceremony and the library's storytime with Mrs. Claus.
There are still another couple of weeks before we can trim our tree or hang our stockings - I have a fairly firm December first rule - but in the meantime it's feeling awfully festive around here. The countdown to Christmas is on!
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