Making Christmas Memories

Photos and Story submitted by Linsey De Ruysscher

When most of us think back to our fondest childhood holiday memories, I bet smiles will spread across our faces. Not because of the presents under the tree or the scratchy festive sweaters you were forced to wear, but because of the family traditions. The simple things that made Christmas…Christmas.

Maybe you all hopped in the car, grabbed a hot chocolate and drove around looking at Christmas lights. (There are plenty of amazing houses all lit up here in Hastings County!) Maybe you put up the tree together and decorated it while singing Christmas carols. Or maybe you have a tradition of watching the same Christmas movies year after year while sipping egg nog in your matching PJ’s.

The point is, every single one of us have special holiday traditions we remember from our childhood. Now, as parents, we want to give our own children memories and traditions that they will love and remember when they’re older.

So, we did just that! We spent a day together as a family making our own Christmas memories that will hopefully become yearly traditions!

It all started the moment we woke up that day. It happened to be the first snowfall.  We opened the curtains and everything was covered in a light dusting of snow. Our boys were excited that it was “packy snow”, even though we explained there wasn’t quite enough of it to start making snowmen just yet. So, since it was pretty much all melted by the time lunch rolled around, we threw on some Christmas music and broke out our yummy Christmas activity!

Last year, we made gingerbread houses and the boys absolutely LOVED them! So, I thought this year we’d switch it up just a bit and decorate Gingerbread Cookies and Snowmen Shortbread Cookies!

two boxed gingerbread kits

They were both so excited to decorate their cookies with icing and candies. They were even more excited to eat them! It’s fun watching them be creative and to see how differently they each decorate their cookies. They each had one Snowman and one Gingerbread Man to decorate and let me tell you…they didn’t let any of the icing or candies go to waste!  

kid decorating gingerbread snowman

kid decorating gingerbread snowman

four decorated gingerbreads

After the cookie fun, (and cookie eating!) it was off to the Santa Claus Parade! It was an evening parade, so we all bundled up in our toques, gloves and scarves and got ready to watch the festive fun! My favourite part of any Santa Claus parade is checking out all the decorated floats and singing along with the Christmas songs as they go by. It just makes you smile and puts you in such a great mood! 

christmas float with kellogg's banner

lighted up christmas float with minions

I’m pretty sure the boys favourite part of the parade is collecting all the candy that gets thrown to them. We ended up with a stash of suckers, rockets and candy canes! And just when I think their smiles can’t get any bigger, we hear that “Ho Ho Ho” we all know so well in the distance. One of the boys looks up at me with a giant smile and says… “I hear Santa! He’s coming!” Then, the big man in red appears and both boys start waving and yelling “Hi Santa!” over and over again. Santa waves back. They yell “Merry Christmas” as smiles spread across all our faces. It’s such a happy, magical feeling.

 Christmas Float with house and santa's sleigh on top

To me, making these Christmas memories are not only so much fun, but so important. And I’m sure I’m not the only parent out there who thinks so. If you haven’t had the chance to plan a festive day of family fun just yet, not to worry! There are still plenty of parades, holiday lights and activities happening in the area.

Happy Holidays, Hastings County! Enjoy making those Christmas memories to last a lifetime!

Story and photographs by Linsey De Ruysscher

Linsey De Ruysscher bio pic

As one of our six Local Wanderers exploring Hastings County, Linsey enjoys making memories with her family hiking on new trails and discovering new hidden attractions along the way. If there is a river to be paddled, they'll be there!

Learn more about Linsey through her bio, as well as for a link to the other adventures she has shared with us. You can also read about our other five Local Wanderers and the excursions they've experienced across the County.



Our Local Wanderer Initiative is funded and supported in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport and Regional Tourism Organization 11 - Ontario's Highlands.


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