Checking Off My Holiday Fun List

Greetings! It’s December 21st, time to share how I did on my holiday fun list that I wrote here. I had five items and wanted to have free or low cost, and environmentally-friendly fun. So here we go:

1) View the holiday light displays: I walked with my family in the downtown core to see beautiful holiday light displays. In Eaton Centre, the tallest Christmas tree was quite a centrepiece. Big banks and major department stores also set up amazing decorations.

Christmas tree at Toronto Eaton Centre
Christmas tree at Toronto Eaton Centre

2) Listen to live holiday music: My friends and I walked to see the Cavalcade of Lights at City Hall. This event marked the official start of the holiday season in Toronto. The 53rd annual celebration featured the first lighting of Toronto’s 15-metre (50-foot) Christmas tree, live musical performances, a skating party and a spectacular fireworks display. I love the hundreds of dazzling lights that hang above the ice rink and all around Nathan Philips Square.

Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto
Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto

3) Bake a Ration cake: I baked a Second World War Ration cake with the recipe found here while listening to music. It was an easy and relaxing activity. The kitchen smelled good. The cake turned out well even though I used an 8-inch round pan instead of a square pan. My family and I enjoyed the yummy treats. Success!

A slice of Ration cake
A slice of home made ration cake

4) Give food and hope: The local Metro grocery store creates convenient, ready-to-go food bank bags. Metro will make a donation of $1 to Feed Ontario for each bag purchase. I bought a few bags of food items to let the recipients know that I care.

Food donation
Food donation at Metro grocery store

5) Walk to show the Earth some love: I walked outdoors with my family through the Financial District to the main shopping centre (see item 1 above) and with my friends to City Hall (see item 2 above). Each time we stopped to watch the Hudson’s Bay Christmas window displays. Here’s a snapshot of what’s behind the five windows and the toy soldiers on guard (click on the photos to enlarge them):

So I checked off my holiday fun list. We enjoyed the lights, the live music, the cake, and the outdoor walks. It felt good to donate food to help less fortunate people in the city. All of these activities were either free or low cost, and I’d say environmentally friendly.

What I love most is how Mother Nature displays a simple and beautiful decoration for the season: Fresh pine cones on the tree.

Coming up next week: My sister is hosting our annual family holiday get-together. Three generations in my family will be there, plus a few family friends. We’ve coordinated the dinner menu and each of us will bring food and drinks to share. I’m looking forward to this party!

Wishing you peace, joy, and good health for this holiday season and in the New Year 2020.

Click here to join Leslie and share your holiday list update.

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27 thoughts on “Checking Off My Holiday Fun List

  1. Suzanne@PictureRetirement December 21, 2019 / 8:12 am

    Natalie, congratulations for checking off everything on your Christmas list. I’m sure the best is yet to come with your family gathering. The Food for Hope bags are a great idea and a nice way to contribute at this time of year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I’m sure you have great plans for 2020.


    • Natalie December 21, 2019 / 9:02 am

      Thank you, Suzanne, for your comment and warm holiday wishes. I’ve been enjoying the festive atmosphere of December and look forward to my family gathering. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


    • Natalie December 21, 2019 / 11:58 am

      Thank you, Janis. I think we put on the best light displays and festive decorations as it’s cold and gets dark earlier here in December but after Dec 21 we’ll get more daylight every day. Wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday season!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. December 21, 2019 / 7:49 pm

    Well done, my friend. Great job completing and enjoying all of your activities. Natalie, these photos are really lovely. My favorite is the picture of the skating rink. Those overhead lights are fantastic. And I like that the skaters are almost in silhouette.

    After the holidays, I would like to try the ration cake recipe. Have a lot of traditional cookies and pies to bake when the kids are here. But when the dust settles, I would like to try something new. Glad your family enjoyed it.

    I know your 3 generation family get-together this week will be a good time. We will have Christmas on the 27th when Brennyn can be here. Had to make special arrangements with Santa!!


    • Natalie December 21, 2019 / 8:18 pm

      The ration cake is easy to make, Leslie, and it tastes very good. I’d make it again. Maybe you can make it with Cady while Lucia watches or helps with little tasks. Have a warm and wonderful time with your family!


  3. Sydney Shop Girl December 22, 2019 / 4:32 pm

    What beautiful lights! The gift bags are such a wonderful idea!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Natalie!

    SSG xxx


    • Natalie December 22, 2019 / 8:37 pm

      Thank you, SSG. Merry Christmas to you and yours!


  4. Min Write of the Middle December 22, 2019 / 7:00 pm

    Toronto sure does Christmas well! How lovely of you to donate food to those in need too and so beautifully packaged up. Merry Christmas Natalie, and best wishes for another fabulous year in 2020! 🙂 xo


    • Natalie December 22, 2019 / 8:40 pm

      Thank you, Min. Lots of food drives in Toronto at this time of the year. I hope the food banks receive a lot more food than they need to give out. Merry Christmas to you and best wishes for 2020!


  5. Deborah December 22, 2019 / 8:10 pm

    I suspect I wouldn’t like the ration cake, but I initially thought it was chocolate mud cake and decided it looked amazing!

    Such a beautiful Christmas vibe there. It’s so different here. I recently talked about doing a roast for Christmas but so few people I know still do them. As it’s summer and hot most people have seafood and cold platters.

    Happy Christmas!!!


    • Natalie December 22, 2019 / 8:47 pm

      I like the ration cake as it’s moist but not wet like chocolate mud cake. It’s easy to make, too. Christmas decorations are amazing here. The cooler weather, earlier nightfall, and some snow amplify the lights. Happy Christmas to you, Deb!


  6. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid December 23, 2019 / 12:03 am

    What a gloriously fun and festive list – I can imagine what fun you’ve had crossing everything off. And there’s still so much to look forward to. Wishing you the happiest of holidays and an extra special new year!


    • Natalie December 23, 2019 / 9:35 am

      Thank you, Sammie. I’m enjoying this holiday season and looking forward to my family gathering. Happy holidays to you and yours.


  7. Christie Hawkes December 23, 2019 / 7:50 am

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos, Natalie. It sounds like you’ve been enjoying the season so far. I know you’ll have a great time at the family dinner. Merry Christmas!


    • Natalie December 23, 2019 / 9:36 am

      Thank you, Christie, for your visit and comment. Merry Christmas to you and your family!


  8. Debbie from Deb's World December 23, 2019 / 4:01 pm

    All the best for your holidays Natalie! It’s been great reading your blog this year and I wish you all the best for the new year. #lifethisweek


    • Natalie December 23, 2019 / 4:42 pm

      Thank you, Debbie. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, too. All the best to you and your family this Christmas and in the New Year 2020!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Denyse Whelan December 26, 2019 / 9:29 pm

    I am certain the Northern Hemisphere does Christmas lighting and festivities far better than we do. It’s so light here…and hot too.

    Thank you always for shining a light on what is happening in your world each week Natalie.

    I hope Christmas was the best!

    Thank you for being a “loyal linker” for Life This Week in 2019 and I look forward to sharing more stories and reading yours in 2020. Happy nearly New Year. See you on Monday 6 January 2020 for the first link up if you choose… 1/51 Word/Intention for 2020 6.1.2020. Denyse.


    • Natalie December 26, 2019 / 10:29 pm

      Thank you, Denyse, for being a gracious host throughout 2019. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas despite the warm temperatures. I had a lovely family holiday get-together at my sister’s. I look forward to joining your link-up again in the new year. Happy holidays to you and yours!


  10. restlessjo December 27, 2019 / 3:00 pm

    Mission accomplished very nicely, Natalie 🙂 🙂 Wishing you a happy and fulfilled 2020!


  11. Dr Sock January 4, 2020 / 2:50 pm

    In a season that is so focused on commercialism, it is a great reminder that there are many beautiful free or inexpensive holiday activities that are also easy on the earth. I liked your inclusion of the photo of nature’s Christmas decorations— pine cones.



    • Natalie January 4, 2020 / 5:16 pm

      Hi Jude: The best thing is I don’t have to buy or maintain any of the holiday decorations. I love those natural pine cones. I’ve seen some huge ones from B.C.


  12. Erica/Erika January 9, 2020 / 9:11 pm

    Happy New Year, Natalie! I cannot imagine how long it took to place the lights on the tallest tree. Thank you for showcasing more of Toronto. A beautiful city, especially at Christmas. I look forward to reading how all went with your family gathering.


    • Natalie January 9, 2020 / 9:33 pm

      Happy New Year, Erica/ Erika! I love to share Toronto with you, especially at Christmas, when the lights are on display. My family gathering was so much fun. Good food, good conversations, and three generations together under one roof. I’m grateful for those moments. I hope you had a wonderful time at Christmas and New Year’s.

      Liked by 1 person

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