Starting in the New Year I will be sharing stories of outdoor adventure with you, but in the meantime, why not make some winter memories of your own?
Bring the spirit of the Canadian wilderness home this season:
- Go for a hike/ski/run in the woods. Adding some wild to the holidays doesn’t need to be difficult or extravagant. If you live in Canada it’s likely that a drive of an hour or less will bring you to a secluded winter wonderland. I can’t think of a better escape from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. My Mom used to take me out every Christmas morning for a ski. It started when I was a young child as a way to use up some of my excited energy and avoid having me wake up the rest of the household, but it became a holiday tradition that we both cherish. A special quiet time that the two of us spend together before the chaos of Christmas day.
2. Play a pickup game of hockey (or football) before family dinner. Does your family have a hard time making it through the holiday party without someone getting a little hot under the collar? Even if there’s no need to blow off steam, there’s nothing like a friendly game of hockey to build up your appetite for the delicious family feast. Conversation is guaranteed to be livelier when you all return from time outside, glowing with the spirit of companionship and competition. Hockey is more Canadian. Football requires less equipment (and is remarkably fun in the snow).
3. Have a fire. The bigger the better. One of the benefits of a winter with lots of snow is that you don’t have to worry about grass/bush fires. Call up that friend who owns more land than they know what to do with and convince them (bribery is allowed) to let you to make a bonfire in the back forty. Gather more wood than seems reasonable and then add a little more. Now is not the time for timidity.
Bring out your lawn chairs and bask in the glow of instant summer.
4. Fireworks. If you don’t have enough wood for a fire, you can always go with a light show instead. Take advantage of the short daylight hours and start your party with a bang. Not-even-close-to-being-a-pro tip, bring along more than one lighter. The first lighter never works when it’s below -20 and your hands are out of your mittens. (Note: Lighting off fireworks within the city limits is dangerous and something that I would never consider doing myself or encourage others to partake in.)
5. Mix up a batch of Moose Milk. I’m not going to get into the origins of this drink; the stories are abundant and varied and the real truth seems to be lost to time. When you take your first sip you will know one thing for certain though, it is a brilliant metaphor for the true north, strong and free. Just like there is not one agreed upon origin story for this drink there is also not one official recipe. Historical recipes have a heavy cream base; more modern versions include ice cream. I have tried the historical version and trust me, you want to include ice cream. I have included a recipe from a very reliable source below. I have also included a non-alcoholic version. Moose milk is designed to be made in large batches and you’ll want to invite a crowd to help you consume it, don’t forget to invite the neighbours.
What’s your favourite Canadian way to celebrate the holidays? Share your holiday traditions in the comments below so I can try them out.
For an alcohol free version make a vanilla milkshake, add nutmeg, cinnamon and molasses.