The holidays mean different things to different people, and where traditional items might be meaningful to some (we love us a good shortbread cookie), others might find nostalgia in more personal places. Here, we asked people to share the mementos that give them the holiday feels and share why they’re so important.
Anna – Bermuda Cottage
"My Bermuda cottage ornament reminds me of the island where I was born. Bermuda cottages are the traditional pastel-coloured homes on the island and the ornament looks similar to the house we had there. Our family has lived all over the world – my sister and I were raised in Saudi Arabia and we’ve lived in England and Canada too – so it’s important to me to incorporate little bits of our heritage into holiday traditions. Plus, Bermuda’s a pretty magical place. It’s tropical and sunny with pink sandy beaches so it’s nice to think about at a time of year when the weather’s bleak."
Brittany – A Special Pillow
"My holiday pillow reminds me of the first pet I shared with my husband, our cat Ace – Ace was drawn to the tiny pillow immediately. I think he assumed it was made small just for him. After Ace passed away a few years ago, the pillow became a memory of our furry family member. When the lights go up and the pillow is on the couch, it is officially the holiday season."
Caroline – Hot Chocolate Mix
"Hot chocolate reminds me of my grandma. In the winter, she used to make it for me when it was very cold. I drank it beside the fireplace with a blanket over my legs – there’s no feeling I can remember that’s cosier than that. Every Christmas, I buy hot chocolate to remember my grandma and that same cosy feeling. It’s ever more important now because I live in Vancouver and my family is in France."
Taylor – Grandma's Recipe
"My grandmother and I have been making her famous “Wife Saver” Christmas morning breakfast since I was barely tall enough to reach the kitchen counter. Every Dec. 24th, I make the 40-minute drive to her place to prep the dish so it’s ready to bake the next day. She brings out her box of time-worn recipe cards and we get to chopping the bread, mixing the eggs and assembling the layers of bacon and cheese. In recent years her arthritis has prevented her from doing much with her hands, so nowadays I take the lead. There are always things I should be doing during that time – last minute shopping, wrapping, table-setting – but I wouldn’t miss it for the world. The next morning we pop it in the oven and her home fills with that familiar scent. Every time we swear that we’ll do something lighter the next year. We never do."
Dylan – A Holiday Pipe
"When we were kids, my grandfather used to read the gospel on Christmas Eve. On a night that was usually filled with laughs and frivolity, this was always a quiet moment and something I think we all looked forward too. He was rarely seen without his cigar or pipe, and before he passed away he gave me this very simple and gorgeous Irish briar piece. Like him, it’s gotten better with age, and I use it every holiday season to get a piece of that quiet moment back."
SJ – Charm Bracelet
"One Christmas, my nan surprised me with a charm bracelet. She told me that the charms on it were my mother’s when she was young, and my nan had held onto them for me – she had them cleaned and rehung on a new chain. Over the years, I’ve added my own – a scroll from graduation, a Royal Mail postbox from my time in London, a policeman’s helmet to remind my of my grandfather. It means a lot to me because it’s an heirloom that I can add to. I received it when I was the same age as my mother. It makes me feel connected to her. I take it everywhere."
Daylan – A Stocking
"My mom handmade this felt-stitched stocking for me when I was a toddler and it's lasted the test of time. Every few years it gets patched up and the stitching is reinforced. Two years ago a felted 'D' (the initial of my name) was added. This year, a solid grosgrain-backed velvet loop was added for support. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it. I’ll keep it forever."