When you become a mom, Christmas takes on a different meaning. Maybe it's because suddenly there are not enough hours in the day. You realize that this season isn't about stuff and how much we cram into our lives. It's the people.
I have a mental list of all the amazing things I want to do this holiday season. Everything from baking ginger snap cookies to skating at the Whistler Olympic Plaza to cross-country skiing as a family.
The problem — as we all know so well — is that this time of year can get really overwhelming in our search for the perfect holiday.
When did Christmas become something we could return on Boxing Day anyway? It's so much more than Big Box stores and cheap tinsel. I prefer the much-loved, crazy-glued nativity scene that sits in my grandparent's house. It tells a better story.
My challenge for all of us is to do Christmas counter-culture. The first step? Slow down. Say yes to the things you really want to celebrate and focus on the story you want to create this Christmas season. Because the story is what defines us.
For some of us, it means skipping the turkey and getting takeout. It's not about what's served on the table anyway, it's about the people sitting around it. I want our story to include sounds of Opa sitting on the couch chuckling to the coos of his new grandson. No one remembers how your dinner rolls taste.
Rather than stuffing the Christmas tree full of gifts that get unwrapped in seconds, we are seeking a Christmas revolution. We want to drill down to the whole point of the holiday.
The Sea to Sky is a great place to write your family's Christmas story while stepping away from the over-stuffed Christmas culture. With plenty of snow and free events, we can all keep it simple. So here is a short list to add to your story, be choosy.
1. Skate with Santa at the Whistler Olympic Plaza — There's something about strapping on skates that make you feel both Canadian, Christmassy and awesome, all at once. Skate with old St. Nick on Dec. 22 from 1 to 4 p.m.
2. Christmas Eve Carol Service — The 30th annual Christmas Eve Carol service from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Westin Resort & Spa is a great holiday tradition. Hosted by the Whistler Children's Chorus and the Whistler Singers, entry is by donation.
3. Holiday Craft Stations — Visit the free, indoor craft station at Millennium Place, December 27 and 28 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. The whole family can turn everyday items into snowmen, reindeer, penguins and other winter creatures.
4. Whistler Holiday Experience — This is my favourite event of the holiday season because it's so easy. Starting Dec. 20, the Whistler Conference Centre is transformed into a free family fun zone from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day until Jan. 5 (with the exception of Dec. 25). Kids can enjoy a mini putt course, table games, bouncy castles, crafts, video games, and more, while parents relax in the lounge area and enjoy a coffee or hot cocoa.
5. Take a stroll through the Village — Whistler Village is decked out in some pretty amazing festive lights, a show that gets better every year. There's nothing like bundling up, grabbing a coffee and heading out for a stroll in the snow with the kids.
Choose your moments this season. Eat store-bought cookies, sleep in if you can. Be brave enough to turn Christmas into something you can't buy at a store.