Pass the eggnog

Journal staff share their holiday traditions

via Public Domain Pictures

The holidays are finally upon us and families and groups of friends are each celebrating with their individual traditions. Pull up a chair and grab a warm beverage as Journal staff share their favourite  holiday traditions. 


Every Christmas Eve, my family and I feast on sushi before cozying up to either the 1951 film of A Christmas Carol or the 1946 version of It’s A Wonderful Life. After decades of doing this, we have our favourite scenes memorized and can practically recite every line. We mostly just end up talking through the movie and falling asleep, but it’s still my favourite part about Christmas. 

— Maureen O’Reilly, Assistant News Editor

I’ve never been a huge fan of Christmas but I absolutely adore Christmas trees for some reason. My family hasn’t had one since I was about 10 years old, so every holiday season my friends invite me over to their houses and let me decorate with the precision I am now known for. Each ornament has its place and each strand of tinsel must rest just so on the branches.  

— Arththy Vallavun, Opinions Editor

Having divorced parents, I always visit several different Christmas celebrations: my mother’s, father’s, friend’s and grandma’s. Each one has its own traditions, such as the ‘After Eight’ chocolates my mother always buys but will never allow us to eat until 8:01 p.m. or the ‘Christmas kayak’, a paternal invention when during his first Christmas as a bachelor, my father decided not to get a tree and instead hid presents inside his propped-up kayak. No matter what though, Christmas has remained a time when my family remains the most important thing, despite being in different places. 

— Jane Willsie, Editor in Chief

Every year, on Christmas Eve, my family plays what we call ‘The Candy Cane Game.’ All of the extended family is given 10 candy canes before dinner. Throughout the rest of the night, to keep your candy canes, you can’t answer any questions with a positive or negative. If you do, the asker gets to take one of your candy canes away. The goal is to have the most candy canes by the end of the night. If you lose all of yours, you’re out of the game. While it’s usually in good fun, the competition is stiff. Alliances are made and broken. There are tears, laughter, and plenty of confusion, but the tradition has been going strong for over 25 years. 

— Ashley Rhamey, Assistant Lifestyle Editor

My sisters and I have a snowman competition, in which I’m the biggest and the oldest. Therefore, I make the biggest snowman. Therefore, I win. My family goes out to dinner because most restaurants are deserted on Christmas Eve, and we’re Muslim.

— Ramna Safeer, Editorials Editor

After we set up our Christmas tree, my brother pulls out his Polar Express model train set and sets it up around the entire living room. The sound of the engine wakes me up every Christmas Day.

 — Kayla Thomson, Production Manager

During exam season, amid the stress, my housemates and I are still in full-on holiday mode. We like to enjoy our study breaks by watching Elf, baking Pillsbury cookies and colouring in those massive colouring books from the dollar store. Michael Buble always makes an appearance. 

— Jenna Zucker, Lifestyle Editor

I celebrate Yalda with my parents and my sister every year, on top of Christmas which we only value for commercial reasons. It’s during the winter solstice, which is the longest night of the year. We spend the night eating “winter” fruit like watermelon, pomegranate, and apples — winter in Iran at least — and pastries. Then my dad will read some poetry, his fave being Hafiz, and that’ll usually put us to sleep. 

— Ghazal Baradari-Ghaimi, Video Editor

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