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A HOSSome Christmas!

Some of Hoss magazine's celebrity friends share their favourite holiday traditions

“My favourite holiday tradition is lighting the pyramid. As a child, my grandma had a fantastic wooden holiday pyramid that she lit in the evenings so that the candles would cast amazing shadows on the ceiling as it spun around. It twirls with the heat from the candle. Now that I’m an adult, I have a pyramid of my own and do the exact same thing for my family and friends. Nothing says holidays more to me then sitting by a roaring fire and watching the reflections for hours.”

-Carson Arthur, outdoor expert on Cityline

“Gingerbread Houses. We have all tried to build them, albeit, some more successful then others, but building and decorating gingerbreads is a longstanding family tradition. When I was a young girl, we used to use milk cartons as the base of the house. My mom would carefully cut and frame the top of the container to make a perfect A-shaped truss roof, and then we would whip together some homemade icing. We used graham crackers in lieu of traditional gingerbread as my sister and I were too impatient to wait for my mom to make anything from scratch. Then we would decorate our graham cracker houses with every candy imaginable. Now, our four little ones have joined in on the festivities. I will admit, I cheat a little and I buy the gingerbread from this fabulous bakery in Downtown Oakville, but making the icing and decorating the houses is still a tradition that puts me in the festive spirit.”

-Sarah Bauemler from HGTV's House of Bryan and House of Bryan 2

“I put pumpkin pie spice in everything from my oat meal to oatmeal cookies to chia seed pudding! It makes the holidays taste better!”

-Sara Bendrick, from DIYNetwork's, I Hate My Yard

“The holidays wouldn't be special without family. This is the time of year, no matter how far apart or how busy we all are in our daily activities, when we STOP. We put those tools down and get together for a family feast. We eat. We laugh. We love. Even if it's just for one day. We remember and look forward to doing it again next year. Happy Holidays”
-Stephen Fanuka, contractor to the stars

“My favourite holiday tradition comes after dinner is eaten and all the chores are done. We all sit around the big fireplace and share old stories. Reminiscing about Christmas past, everyone talking about when we were kids, my uncles and grandparents all telling their own versions of our escapades. As the eggnog flows, the guitars come out and everyone sings together until they are hoarse, and the punchbowl is empty."

-Damon Bennett, construction expert on Cityline

“A favourite holiday tradition in my house growing up was my mother’s trifle for Christmas day breakfast. Trifle is basically a dessert dish consisting of sponge cake, custard, Jello, canned fruit and whipped cream. My mother would make it every Christmas Eve for my brothers and I before we went to bed. I found out at the tender age of nine that the main reason she concocted this Ward family tradition was that it enabled her and dad to sleep in for another hour on Christmas morning. But hey… no complaints for my two brothers and I as we sat down to a deliciously rich Christmas dessert breakfast. Now having two young girls of my own, I have carried this tradition on, although I, however, make a slightly less sweeter version as I figured out the hard way that all the sugar tends to have them on jumping on my bed before I would prefer... therefore rendering the goal useless.”

-Chef Mike Ward from Cityline

“I would have to say my favourite family tradition at Christmas is all of us together at dinner, saying Grace. At a time of the year when we are together for such a short and special time, the spirit of thankfulness is in everyone. Our tradition of everyone holding hands and praying together is something that means the world to me. I also believe the little ones are very imprinted by these actions, and memories will be instilled that last a lifetime of family and Christmas.”-André Chevigny from HGVT's The Timber Kings

"One of my favourite holiday traditions is getting together with my family just before midnight on December 24th. We all sit together, have drinks, talk about the past year, what we we're thankful for... and ring in Christmas Day at midnight. We aren't typically together on New Year's Eve or January 1st, so celebrating the year happens on Christmas Eve. After that, we go to bed, open gifts in our PJ's the next morning and go to church. I think spending time with the people who have known you all of your life is very grounding."

-Glen Peloso, design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show and co-founder of Peloso Alexander Interiors

"Holiday season is a special time of year - for giving back, being a part of each other's lives and the joy that comes from family, and that family reuniting together. Every December, three trips are a must. At the beginning of the month, my husband and two of my childhood friends embark on a three-day tour of NYC. Rockefeller Centre to see the tree, a stop a Macy's for the current year's special tree ornament and a stop at "Don't Tell Mamas" piano bar to wish holiday cheer to the singing staff and friends who then serve us holiday cheer and carols into the night. The second trip is to the Maritimes. Christmas lights on the family house, decorating the tree and the labour of love to make several dozen meat pies to share with the family over the holidays into the New Year. Our third trip is the most memorable one. A trip home for the holidays. As the family grows older and larger with new in-laws, one tradition remains the same. We gather on Christmas Eve, eat meat pies, cornmeal muffins and fricot (an Acadian stew). Following our evening supper, we gather in the living room with presents in-hand and, just before midnight, we open all of the presents. Christmas Day is a day of rest; no presents or large meals. We eat potluck/buffet-style from the food that everyone brought ahead of time so we can all relax and visit with friends and loved ones. Boxing Day is a day of the feast, with a 4 o'clock dinner that lasts several hours. With loved ones gathered round, my mother has always ensured that friends whom don't have family close by must join us around our table for a turkey dinner with all the fixings for a group of up to 40. Not all family in the traditional sense, but certainly family while at the Christmas dinner table. Thanks to my mom, Christmas for me is not about the gifts I receive but, rather, the love and fellowship I can give to others."

-Jamie Alexander, design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show and co-founder of Peloso Alexander Interiors

“Hey, my favourite holiday tradition is a Champagne brunch at our house for the whole family--after Santa has been here of course!”

-Danielle Byrck of DIY Network's A Bryk At A Time and HGTV Canada's Bryk House

“My favourite holiday tradition is picking out and cutting down our Christmas tree. It was a family tradition that I grew up with and have continued with my own family. We used to trudge into the forest to cut down a tree and drag it back to the car, which was always an adventure! Lately we’ve been going to a tree farm, although this year we’re actually going to choose a tree from our new property. As for decorating the tree, we like to make a whole day out of it. Every year we make a special family ornament and let the kids help decorate. It’s total pandemonium, but also a lot of fun.”

-Scott McGillivray from HGTV's Income Property

“Every Christmas holiday, no matter where my parents and brothers are, and no matter what we are doing, we always end up together. Time with family is key for us. Jonathan and mom cook the dinner, JD trims the tree, and my dad and I play the guitar while we all sing holiday songs. The holiday couldn't be better.”

-Jonathan and Drew Scott from HGTV's Property Brothers

“I’ve gotta say it’s the tradition my wife calls the “Family Blessing Circle.” Everyone (including aunts, uncles, etc.) draws a name in the fall and prepares a gift for that one person. We usually write a small paragraph or poem for the person and read it to them at Christmas. We’ve had some pretty touching moments over the years, some that will probably stay with me for a long time!”

-Paul Lafrance from HGTV’s Decked Out, Disaster Decks, Custom Built and Deck Wars