Christmas traditions: Andrea & Geralyn

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Traditions. Almost every family has them and for just about every occasion.

Christmas is the time of year when traditions abound. From sending Christmas cards to cherished friends and family to decorating a Christmas tree with special ornaments, or hanging stockings to enjoying a family games night — everyone has their own tradition that, to them, makes their Christmas extra special.

In keeping with the Christmas spirit, The Advocate polled a number of community residents to ask about their Christmas traditions…


Chief Andrea Paul

Pictou Landing First Nation

I love Christmas. I love everything about it… the decorations, the joy, the excitement, family, music, Mass… everything! I always go all out decorating because when my girls were young they loved it. My decorating style has definitely changed. I remember when the girls were young and a friend came to visit she told me my house looked like Vegas, haha. I probably was a bit extra with the coloured lights (hahaha). Today, I always decorate right after Remembrance Day and my theme for the last couple of years has been Snow Man. I just love everything Snow Man. Decorating early allows me the opportunity to enjoy it. Every day is busy and so to go home in the evening and sit back and enjoy the spirit of the holiday is so relaxing. It truly brings me joy. My girls are grown and moved out now but I still go all out because it makes me happy.


Geralyn MacDonald

Director of Community Development

Town of New Glasgow

Growing up in Heatherton, Antigonish County, there were nine of us. Mom gave up her teaching career to raise us and Dad taught at the Heatherton school. One income and nine kids was a lot but we always had a wonderful Christmas. Dad would put the green Christmas tree stand in the living room days before he brought the tree home. He knew we would be excited on what was to come! Christmas Eve was my favourite. Mom would put the turkey in the oven before Midnight Mass. She would fill the counter with ‘clover leaf’ rolls, bread, cookies, dark fruitcake and pies! Dad and the older kids would go to Mass and when we got home Dad would always have some of the turkey. Christmas morning was always the same. We would race into the living room almost knocking each other over to pick a spot to sit. Mom would kneel under the tree and call our names out, one by one, as she took a gift from under the tree. My sisters and I would pile each gift and not open any until all gifts were gone from under the tree. My brothers would rip open each gift as they received it.

One of my fondest memories was my little brother Matthew. He had spina bifida and was in and out of hospital a lot. When he was three he asked Santa for a green wagon. I will never forget his sweet little face as he toddled into the living room on Christmas morning and there was the green wagon! It had railings that came off. His brown eyes were as big as saucers and I will never forget his words, “Mommy, Santa ‘bringed’ me my wagon!” He jumped right into it. That was his last Christmas. He died of complications the following April. The wagon Santa brought sat in our house for many years. His last Christmas is a memory I will have forever. His twin sister Eleanor is now 47 and to this day we never will forget our little Christmas angel and the joy that green wagon brought him.