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Memories: What makes the holidays special?

Memories: What makes the holidays special?

What makes the holidays special? For some, it’s about baking, hanging fairy lights, or finding that perfect gift. For others, it’s watching A Charlie Browns Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life or laughing out loud at the antics of Macaulay Culkin’s character in Home Alone for the hundredth time. But when it comes to the magic of the holidays, being with family and friends and celebrating time honoured traditions is what these kids look forward to the most.

“It’s all about Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. It falls on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023 – marking the Year of the Rabbit. Kids receive lai see (red envelopes) with money in them. The best part is visiting relatives and getting these red envelopes. My mother told me lai see symbolizes good luck and prosperity. The more red envelopes you receive, the more good fortune you will have for the year. It’s a tradition we still observe – but we also celebrate the traditional Christmas with Santa Claus. The best part is just being together.”
Lily, age 11

“Skating, tobogganing, playing hockey and having snowball fights with my brother and sister. As a family we also volunteer at the food bank.”
Daniel, age 8

“Some of our family live far away. It’s the one time of year we see everyone together. It’s also about giving, not getting things, and being thankful because many people in the world don’t have as much.”
Nate, age 9

“Spending time with family is very important, and giving to others. I’m also looking forward to wearing fun Christmas pyjamas, opening each day on my advent calendar and snow.”
Kylie, age 11

“Our dad helped us with this. Kwanzaa (Dec. 26–Jan. 1) comes from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning “first fruits of the harvest.” It was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. It’s based on seven principles. Unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Celebrating Kwanzaa is a way African Canadians build their cultural traditions. It’s not a religious holiday and we still celebrate Christmas. We light one of the seven candles, three red, one black and three green candles of the Kinara for each of the seven principals. On the night before the last day, we have a huge party. It’s called a Karamu, and everyone’s invited – family and friends.”
Aiysha, age 11. Amri, age 13

“Being together and eating jelly donuts. We celebrate Hannukah (Dec. 18–26th), and this year I get to fill them with whatever flavour I want. My bubbe (grandmother) told me that the sugary donuts are a reminder that life can be sweet. I’ve decided to fill the donuts with strawberry jam.”
Marla, age 10