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Christmas is a magical time of year! This collection of 101 festive holiday stories will warm your heart and spread holiday cheer with its tales of family, fun, and traditions from across Canada. From mummering and caroling, to winter lights festivals and crèche displays, to feasts and cookie-baking parties, Christmastime in Canada is full of fun and special traditions. You will delight in reading the 101 merry and heartwarming stories about family, goodwill, and holiday traditions across Canada's provinces. Remember, all our stories are "Santa safe" so they can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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Five tips to make your Christmas merrier

Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas in Canada by Amy Newmark and Janet Matthews

In all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be easy to overlook the pure magic, fun and cheer of Christmastime. But the 101 stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas in Canada (Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, Oct. 14, 2014, 978-1611599435) will help you slow down and remember why you love the holidays, as contributors share heartwarming and funny holiday memories. Here are five tips to make your Christmas merrier.

  1. It's really true that it's the thought that counts. Judi Peers was in awe of the Christmas gift her four-year-old son bought her at his school's Christmas bazaar—and not in a good way. It was ugly. The chintzy ceramic Christmas decoration clashed with Judi's thoughtful and nature-inspired holiday decor. Then her older children came home and laid out all the treats they bought at the bazaar—marshmallow squares, fudge, candy cane reindeer—and Judi wondered where Michael's goodies were. The four-year-old proudly told his mom he spent all his money on her present. "Suddenly, this ugly, lacklustre gift took on new significance," Judi writes. Now she was in awe that her young son had bypassed all the fun, tasty treats with kid-appeal to buy her a present instead. "Ugliness suddenly blossomed into beauty. I was delighted. No. Overjoyed," she writes. "Wholeheartedly, I embraced both my son and his gift."
  2. Christmas is even better when you open your home to others. When nearly all of Toronto lost power the week before Christmas, Alexa Danielle Patino and her family were amongst the lucky few who had their power restored quickly. During the city's power outage, the Patinos opened their home to neighbours and friends so they could warm up, shower or share a meal. Christmas Eve at the Patino home became one big sleepover with ice storm refugees sleeping on every available, comfortable surface. Alexa's family of four had turned into fifteen! "Christmas morning is always magical," she writes, "but opening my presents that morning with other teens and younger kids and everyone still in their pyjamas made Christmas seem more magical than ever. I don't remember ever before having such a heart-warming feeling. It was extraordinary!"
  3. Remind yourself that it's all worth it as you look at your gigantic to-do list. "Christmas had lost a bit of sparkle," Kim Reynolds writes. On her fifth trip from the basement lugging decorations, a jingle bell fell on her toe and added to her frustration. Kim questioned whether all the holiday hoopla was necessary. Why did she bother when her grown son and daughter no longer rushed to open their stockings Christmas morning? When a lot of the excitement and traditions had disappeared? But then Kim remembered why—the traditional Christmas dinner, the laughter, the sharing of stories. They were making new memories. "So when that jingle bell bounced off my toe, it sparked the memory of my son finding it nestled in the snow on our deck," Kim shares. "That memory reminded me why I was lugging all those decorations up the stairs." It's Christmastime!
  4. There's nothing like a messy, exuberant Christmas! Indian immigrants to Canada, Ritu Shannon's parents created their own Christmas traditions for the young family so they could share in the holiday. So every year, they had a neat, orderly and almost formal Christmas morning. "It was perfect for our family," she writes. Years later, when Ritu joined her Canadian husband and his family one Christmas morning, she was in for a surprise. The morning was a rush of chaotic laughter and excitement as everyone opened their gifts and crumpled wrapping paper was thrown around. And she loved it! "That night, as we were joined by aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends to share a delicious feast," Ritu writes, "I felt that I had finally experienced a true Canadian Christmas."
  5. Christmas is a great time to make new family traditions. The first Christmas after her divorce, Laura Snell was determined to make it special for her two-year-old son Ryan. She bought a small, unimpressive artificial tree, but dressed it up with decorations and lights. Over the years they added new decorations, making the tree even more special to them. When they moved they had to put the tree into storage for a few years, and when it finally came back out, a six-foot-tall fifteen-year-old Ryan didn't know how to react. His memory of their special tree didn't match the reality of the scrawny little tree in front of him. When Laura's new husband realized what was going on he managed to meld their small tree with the larger one they had inherited from Laura's mother. Laura writes, "We were content knowing that we hadn't abandoned our little tree that had meant so much to us, but simply helped it grow and be part of something bigger and better—much like we were now doing as a family."
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