We went and got another Christmas tree. I let the kids cut school and we packed all three kids into the car and drove out of the city (only just) and someone asked ten thousand times are we there yet and then threw up and it didn’t occur to me to bring a wagon as it did to the other parents of young children there, so all in all a really solid parenting day.





We picked out our tree in record time, no one wanting to be stuck in a forest, even of Christmas trees, with a crying baby. Tree jammed into the car, we went for ramen, rediscovered the completely different world that Markham around Hwy 7 is, with giant outlets and parking lots that would fit multiple condo buildings, and then headed home with all the babies asleep behind us.


Some quotes from the day:


Jon (while wheelbarrowing the baby): “We have too many kids.”

Jon (while sawing the trunk): “I’m not the man I used to be.”

Jon (while Caleb is running with the saw): “Don’t run with the saw, Caleb.”


Upon triumphal return, Chicken provided no commentary but gave his usual dark looks.





In any case, I’m glad we went. We’ve gone several years now, with the kids: first one, then two and now three. Each time it’s a huge effort beforehand and after and every year we contemplate getting a tree from the parking lot down the street. Mittens, cash, cleaning out the trunk, digging through the basement to get the tree stand. But the kids love it!


For me, having grown up without too many traditions, the concept of conceiving of and creating and executing holiday festivities sometimes seems both a bit fraudulent and a bit weird. What are we doing out here? Is that what we’re supposed to be doing when you have kids? Second generation Chinese city slickers attempting to chop down a tree to take home. For what purpose? To what end? We’re paying money for a tree that we will need to water daily in order to not turn into a fire hazard and hang ornaments on and then eventually pitch it out onto the street for the city to turn into compost? Don’t we have to have a tree? Do we? Says who? I’ve been googling how to do Christmas for the last eight years.


But actually I’ve discovered that traditions are what you make of them, even the ones you make up on the fly. The kids remember the tree, but they also, and really, remember the excitement and the thrill and the joy and the adventure of it all. You make an effort to do the same things every year so the kids have something to look forward to, and something to look back on, and, hopefully, something to bring with them out into the world.


The baby is now feeding herself, trying not to choke on chunks of cheese and food allergies, and time is only speeding up. Grateful that this Christmas, this year, is going to be a good one. Just need to find the egg nog.




Related Posts

December 12, 2022 — Liz Chan



Anu said:

This is utterly delightful!


Nina said:

I chortled reading this. It takes big courage to become parents. Thank you for letting me tag along on your adventures.Never stop writing Liz – I see a book in your future: The Chan Clan Chronicles, Big and Small.


Kathryn said:

The Jon quotes levelled up this post but the pictures of the kids’ sweet faces really brought it all home.
Here’s to making new traditions!


Nurul said:

This one brought tears. Good one, Liz. Happy Christmas celebrating!

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.