Christmas Eve: Memories from my childhood

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: COURTESY OF SAVANNAH BISAILLON
Now that I am older, I cherish every little chance I get with my family.

Growing up with one older sister and one younger sister, Christmas was always one of my favourite times as a kid. I would spend the days leading up to Christmas with my family, watching Christmas movies on YTV with my sisters all sprawled out on blankets, laying on the living room floor.

My absolute favourite Christmas movie to this day is To Grandmother’s House We Go starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. This movie was a staple of my childhood along with Animaniacs: Wakko’s Wish. Every Christmas Eve, my sisters and I would watch both these movies.

The former would be the movie we’d watch earlier in the day. We would eat eggs and bacon with hash browns for breakfast that my dad would make and then we would throw our blankets and pillows down on the floor and lay by the Christmas tree and watch To Grandmother’s House We Go. I remember for the longest time wishing my sisters and I would randomly get into a mail truck and mail ourselves to our grandparent’s house for Christmas, just like the Olsen twins.

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After we finished that movie, we would watch Barbie in the Nutcracker. I remember always having to rewind it before watching it because we would watch it year-round, but more frequently during Christmas time. The best part of it all was being able to hang out with my sisters and not have to be interrupted by friends because Christmas Eve and Christmas were the only days of the year that were dedicated to strictly family.

After a day full of movies, we would go over to my nanny’s house for sandwiches and stocking hanging (we still do this even in our 20s). After dinner and stocking hanging, the five of us (my sisters, parents, and me) would all go to church for Christmas Eve service. We don’t do that much anymore, but that is because now that we’re older, we all work and go to school so when we are home, we want to soak in all the time we have with each other.

After church, we would go home and put on our pajamas, and hang our stockings. Then, my sisters and I would head upstairs and all pile in my older sister’s bed to watch some more movies until we fell asleep. Usually, the night would end with my dad moving me and my little sister to our beds and us wondering how we got there when we woke up a few hours later.

More recently, in the last five years, we’ve started new traditions like wearing matching pajamas and playing boardgames until my dad decides that it’s time for bed. My mom will watch an old Christmas movie and my sisters and I will sit in the basement just playing video games and talking.

Now last Christmas was a weird one as my little sister didn’t get to come home because of the pandemic. She did get to spend it with my grandparents, which is cool as we had always wanted to do that as children but never got to. It was hard not having her with us to watch the movies, but she did wear the matching pajamas my mother mailed out for her to have. I am looking forward to keeping the traditions going this year.

We still try to all squeeze onto one bed and watch a Christmas movie until one of us complains about our back hurting and decides it’s time for bed. Now that I am older, I cherish every little chance I get with my family. As my sisters and I are all in different places and doing different things with our lives, it feels great just following through with tiny traditions.