Category Archives: Traditions

Dinner Conversations

When I was growing up, my family had dinner together every day.  Never with the TV on, usually with music playing in the background, glasses of milk for the kids and water for the adults.  We sat at the table every night and we talked.  Everyone talked about how their days were, what we learned at school, challenges at work, sharing the news about our friends and family; we engaged with each other every day.  On Sundays, the same rules applied except that the food was usually more labour intensive to prepare, and we always ate in the dining room on the fine china.

They say that you will do what you know, and so it’s really no surprise to me that every night we all sit at the table to have dinner.  Although, our fine china is not dishwasher safe like my parents is, so on Sundays we just eat on regular plates.  But I digress.

While I try to engage everyone in discussion about their days, some times that conversational tactic runs out before I’ve even taken my first bite.  On those nights, the kids ask random questions and we do our best to engage in discussion with them.  One night though, over the Christmas break, Connor asked, “So Mom: what is man’s work?”

The feminist in me immediately bristled.  “Where is he getting this from,” I raged internally.  MOMD dropped his fork, his terror shining from his eyes, while he tried desperately to see how I would respond, without looking at me thus to provoke my wrath.  Being in communications, he tried to firmly get control of the question and started sputtering something like, “Well Connor…”

Cooler heads prevailed however, and I interrupted MOMD with the faithful advice given by my OB many, many years ago.  “Well Connor, ” I said, “what do you think man’s work is?”

Connor: “I’m not sure.”
MOMD: “Well, let’s think about the kind of work I do, and the kind of work Mom does.”
Connor: “Oh…  ok.  So like, Dad does the laundry, cleans the bathrooms, washes the floors…  So I guess that’s man’s work.”
Me: “Well, my work is done here.”


Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Family, Food, Raising Kids, Traditions


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Meet my Tree

Hello stranger,

It’s been a while, I know.  I got busy, you got busy, and while I tried to write I just never had the time to complete a post.  And believe me when I say that I have missed you; I really have.  In this season of goodwill, can we agree to let bygones be bygones?  I promise today I’m writing a lovely, heartwarming piece (at least: I hope it is!).

While it’s true that I am not what you would call a “Christian”, I was raised as one.  As such, I continue to celebrate the major Christian holidays, like Christmas and Easter.  While we don’t attend church, we talk with our kids about how Christmas is Jesus’ birthday party and Easter is his funeral and ascension.  What this means is that I have a tree.  A Christmas tree, every year.

I love my tree.

Whether it’s real (always has been) or fake (until this year when we got an artificial one), it’s always an old-school, multi-coloured, hodge-podge tree.


And I love it.

My tree is a physical symbol of my history.  I have ornaments on here from many, many years, including the one from the year I was born.  Let me share with you some of my favourites now.

First: my tree topper:


It is a star (because ever since my Dad said, “You know why the angel on the top of a tree is always smiling, don’t you?” I have never ever been able to take an angel-topped tree seriously).  This star has been with me since I had my first tree on my own, when I was 22.  That makes this star 16 years old this year.  I bought it at Pier One Imports and I have loved it ever since.  It is the best top for my tree.

Next: my Sugar Plump Faerie.


I absolutely adore faeries, and this ornament right here is my all-time favourite.  I bought her when I had my first (and only!) Christmas in Halifax, in 2000.  MOMD & I moved out east shortly after our wedding so that he could get some traction in his industry.  He went to school out there, and all of his network was out there.  While we were closer to home for him, we were so far from home for me, and every day away my heart broke.  I loved MOMD, and we had some good times out there, but I was not getting better.  I moved back on April 1, 2001 and have never strayed far from my beloved city again.  But!  This is supposed to be about the ornaments, right?  SO: I got my Sugar Plump Faerie, as I lovingly named her, from a fabulous little shop in the Hydrostones of Halifax (right next to Salvatore’s pizza which is honestly the best pizza I’ve ever had).  I instantly fell in love with her, and every year when I unwrap her, I giggle and clap my hands and admire her.  She is confident, beautiful, and dancing.  What more can I ask for?

Up next: angels!


My tree is full of angels.  I love them – just not on the top!  One year, when I was young and single and still adding to my collection, I got it in my head that I needed some “angels in action”.  I went on the hunt, and I found one who was singing (pictured above) and one who was playing a trumpet.  I was even more excited when the angels were of colour.  I’m from a big city, with lots of diversity, and it really irked me that all the angels I could readily find where white.  Why was that, exactly?  And then, I found these ones and my heart was full of gladness.  These angels will forever be on my tree, for they own a piece of my heart.

Up Next: Birth Year Ornaments

I don’t know when the tradition started, if it’s a tradition with your family, or just one of my own family’s.  When there is a baby, an ornament is purchased for them, with their birth year on it, commemorating their joining the family.  When I was a kid, we always got antsy until my Mom had uncovered our ornaments and we were able to hang them proudly on the tree.  Here is my birth ornament:

My birth ornament

Obviously, this was a tradition I wanted to bring into my family.  And so, here are the ornaments for each of our children:

This one is Connor’s:

Connor's birth ornament

You can’t see it, but on this bulb 2004 is engraved.  I love the classic simplicity of it.  And when I brought it out this year, he too was so excited.

And here is Sam’s:

Sam's birth ornament

His looks a lot like Connor’s, but Sam’s is perfect for him because it plays music.  And he is such a music lover, just like his dear old Mum.  But please: don’t tell him.  Otherwise he’s sure to break the wind-up function from over-playing!

And lastly, here is Ellie’s:

Ellie's birth ornament

It’s quite different from the boys; but I figure she is quite different from the boys, and so this fits for her.  When I saw it, I thought of the peace that she has brought to our lives, and I just decided that ti was perfectly her.  MOMD agreed too. I think in part because it’s the same colour as her eyes.  😉

Next up: Clipper Ship

Mitchell's Clipper Ship

Our first year together – 1998 – MOMD & I hosted a Christmas gathering at the house we shared with another couple. We invited people to come and help us trim our tree, and indulge in some holiday cheer.  It was a great time.  MOMD’s friend came to our house and she brought this ornament for him.  It has been a favourite of mine ever since.

Next up: Glenn’s timely elf

Glenn's timely elf

As you may have guessed, ornaments are pretty important to me.  😉  This one is something that I bought for my brother from the same shop that my Sugar Plump Faerie came from in Halifax.  I just love this ornament; I always have.  The clock on his tummy actually opens to show a pendulum, and other inner workings.  When Glenn died, I asked my parents if I could have some of the ornaments that I bought for him over the years.  Of all of them, this one is my favourite.  And poignant too, since he passed away 18 months after I gave this to him.  Time was ticking away, and we didn’t even know it.

And now – an award!

My Poppa Award!  Yes, this is a picture glued to a Christmas bulb.  It is a picture of my grandfather – my Mom’s Dad.  When he passed away, a few of my cousins got together and decided to have a little awards show every year, awarding “Poppa Awards” to deserving members of our family.  It’s been a great tradition to our annual Keenan Family Boxing day, and every time someone in my house gets one, I get excited and proudly display it.  Thanks for giving me an award that could go on my tree, Poppa Committee!  As you can see, I love it.

And now: the Poinsettia Faerie

I love this one.  I’ve had this since the year I got my star; it was on my first tree ever, and was a gift from my best friend.  Every year she takes my breath away when I unwrap her, and she gets a place of prominence at the top of my tree.

Are you still with me?  Oh joy!  Thank you for continuing on;  we’re almost done now I promise!

Pauline's Angel

This one is very special to me as it is the first ornament given to me by my mother-in-law, Pauline.  It was the Christmas of 1998, and on December 27 I flew to MOMD’s hometown of Labrador, Newfoundland & Labrador to ring in the New Year with him and his family.  This ornament was given to my on the night I arrived, and is a cherished item from the first trip I ever made with my in-laws-to-be.

And last, but not least:

Yes, that’s right, it’s Batman.  Lest you think that our tree really is just my tree, MOMD does have several ornaments of his own, proudly displayed year after year.

And there you have it.  Thank you for walking down memory lane with me.  I love this time of year, I love my traditions and I hope you enjoyed reading about them.

Merry Christmas!

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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Family, Raising Kids, Traditions


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