All posts by Damien Nelson

Damien Nelson loves Christmas and writing, in that order. By day she works at Toronto's Flip Publicity. By night she sneaks down the chimneys of unsuspecting friends, leaving a trail of gifts in her wake. (Or maybe just a lump of coal.)

Merry Kitschmas Canada! – Kitschy Christmas Ornaments

Christmas is a sacred time to spend time with friends and family, but who says Christmas can’t be kitschy? You’ve gotta have a sense of humour to get through those long Canadian winters!

As a child, my mother would decorate her immaculate Christmas trees with gorgeous twinkle lights, beautiful garlands and matching ornaments. She enjoyed the ritual of decorating it, but preferred to do it alone.

Kitschy Christmas Ornaments
Anything goes on the kids Christmas tree!

My siblings and I had our own kid Christmas tree to decorate in the rec room, and we could use anything we wanted to dress it up. We had handmade ornaments, candy garland and cartoon character ornaments.

Still, I wish we had access to some of the kitschy Christmas ornaments available today. My sister would have loved a Unicorn Ornament for her obsession with The Last Unicorn, and – let’s face it – my brother deserved to trim the tree with a Krampus.

Kitschy Christmas Krampus Ornaments
This Krampus ornament serves as a threat to the truely naughty . . . or kitschy!

My mother still decorates her home to divine levels, but she also adds a touch of vintage flair with things like retro Christmas signs, or ornaments passed down from my grandmother.

kitschy Christmas ornament Classic Santa Clause sign
A classic Santa image on this Vintage Santa Claus sign

My siblings and I continue to keep our family Christmas kitschy with ugly Christmas sweaters, funny coffee mugs and trading cheeky Christmas cards!





It’s A Wonderful Life Mulled Wine Recipe

Frank Capra’s classic 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life is the most heartwarming Christmas movie ever made. One of the most humorous scenes in the film is when George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) brings his endearing guardian angel, Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers), to “Nick’s” seedy bar where Clarence orders “mulled wine, heavy on the cinnamon and light on the cloves. Off with you, me lad, and be lively!

Although Nick was not amused with the drink order, the idea of mulled wine makes mouths water!

Mulled Wine Recipe
Clarence orders his Mulled Wine recipe from Nick







To make mulled wine at home, follow this recipe from It’s a Wonderful Life: Memory Book by Stephen Cox.

Clarence’s Mulled Wine Recipe

2 1/4 cups of water

2 tablespoons of sugar

3 whole cinnamon sticks

2 bottles of red wine

1 clove

1/2 cup of cognac

Lemon wedge (optional)

Bring the water, cinnamon sticks, clove and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the wine, then heat slowly until hot again. Stir in the cognac, and remove from heat. Pour into festive mugs, moose or otherwise, and add a twist of lemon.

For a Canadian twist on this Christmas recipe, replace the wine with apple cider – and a dollop of maple syrup – from your local farmer’s market!

Transfer your mulled wine or cider to a punch bowl at your annual Christmas party, or a slow cooker on a low setting to keep it warm.

Every time a bell rings . . . drink!


Christmas Time in Canada

Growing up, I loved being with my grandparents. They were wonderful people who know how to have fun. However, I could never understand their taste in music. Country, Western, and Bluegrass – that is all they ever listened to. Stompin’ Tom Connors, Humphrey and the Dumptrucks, and The Yodeling Cowboy Wilf Carter were some of their favourites.

It wasn’t until years later, and after they were gone, that I began to appreciate and then love these genres. Then began my search for the Holy Grail of Christmas albums in my family: “Christmas in Canada” by Wilf Carter.

Canadian Christmas album by Wilf Carter
Album cover of Christmas in Canada by Wilf Carter

This album features some wonderful Christmas songs that are funny (Ting-A-Ling-A Jingle), touching (An Old Christmas Card), and just plain Canadian (Christmas Time in Canada) with lyrics like:

It’s Christmas time in Canada / Be merry while we can / It’s Christmas time in Canada / God bless our native land

This album, which was released in 1965, seems to be a rare one. Most record store clerks have barely heard of Wilf Carter, let alone his Canadian Christmas album.

This past October, after years of flipping through vinyl at every thrift store, yard sale and record swap I’ve come across, I decided to go into a consignment store that is one block away from my house. I have walked by it almost every day for the past three years but had never gone inside.

The store had a mess of records piled all over the floor, but they were not organized in any fashion. After a few minutes, I asked if there was a country section. He pointed to a cardboard box under a bunch of old dishes. “Christmas in Canada” was the sixth record I flipped to, and I felt like Ralphie, when he finally got his official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock.