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Not-So-Ugly Sweaters And Holiday Traditions

Shifting into holiday festivities, including hand-made decorations, traditional rum cake, and my go-to sweater.
December 23, 2021
By Tosin Sanusi

Most people love Christmas. I mean, what’s not to love? An abundance of delicious foods, beautiful lights, decorations, and gifts! 

When the planet wasn’t rapidly warming, snow covered the ground, which added to the whimsy of it all. 

Where I live in Ontario, Canada there’s no snow right now and it’s 59°F during the day at a time where temperatures are usually around 14°F.

Anyways, though most people love Christmas, I’m obsessed. I think It’s because, at age twenty-three, this is only the fourth Christmas I’m celebrating. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to celebrate it because of my family’s former religion.

I would watch my classmates make holiday-themed crafts, listen to stories about their fun family traditions, and overhear the long list of presents they got. 

I felt that I was missing out on a great time and since I began partaking in the holiday, I found that my FOMO was justified.

When I first celebrated Christmas, there was the temptation to be a little extreme about it.

By that, I mean buying the maximum amount of gifts and acquiring new decorations every year even though I already had enough baubles and lights to decorate three trees.

I always saw the holiday season as a time to celebrate abundance and my first couple of years were no exception. 

In my first celebrations, I focussed on excess of gifts, an excess of decorations, and an excess of food (an excess of food is still a priority for me).

This year, I decided to take a different approach (emphasis on the ‘tried to’ as I can’t say I exercised as much caution as I would have wanted). 

In my gifts, my decorating, and my holiday cooking, I want to focus on being more mindful so as not to let this magical time of year zoom right by me. 

I wanted to dedicate lots of careful consideration to each and every decision.

Here’s how it’s been going...

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A Go-To Sweater That Lasts For Life

I’ve decided to make it my goal to gift the people in my life items that will bring them lasting functionality and joy. 

From my amazing experience with this piece, the OC sweater is the perfect gift to do just that.

It fits nearly any person’s style with its classic design and a variety of color options.

If you’re out of ideas or know someone who loves a quality sweater, the OC is the perfect gift.

In my experience, it’s held up excellently after dozens of washes, it goes with almost all of my winter closet, it’s extremely comfortable, and it’s noticeably high quality.

Your loved ones will love the lifetime warranty that makes the OC sweater a forever friend. 

The image below gives you a glimpse into my winter 2021 personal uniform.

It usually includes a sweater (I reach for my OC at least four times a week), denim or corduroy bottoms, and a light underlayer.

This year, my gifts are all items that my loved ones can use for years, use often, or give tons of joy. 

I’m confident that the OC sweater can do all of these things for you or someone on your gift list.

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Crafting Home-Made Holiday Decorations

For the past couple of years, I decided to buy traditional plastic baubles to decorate my apartment, but this year, I wanted a different look that I can only describe as ‘natural’.

I wanted to make my ornaments by hand (though I’m not crafty) and I must say, I love the results! 

With some oranges from the grocery store, some cinnamon sticks, and some rustic twine, we managed to create a simple, classic vibe that brings comfort and nostalgia around this time of year.

All I did was slice my oranges as thinly as I could, patted them with a cloth to get rid of some of the excess moisture, laid them out on some parchment paper, and baked them at 225°F for two hours. 

My oranges came out slightly more burnt than theirs, but I think that adds a bit of character. I’ll try again next year!

My favorite thing about my homemade decor was the quality time I shared with my sister and my fiancé. 

The Holidays are a special time to be with friends and family. If you’re looking for a fun, festive activity to do with your loved ones, try making some of your ornaments. 

Every time you look at them, you’ll remember having fun with your favorite people.

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My Family Tradition Is Baking A Rum Cake

I don’t realize how much of a "rum head" I am until I give other people a sample of my favorite holiday dessert. 

In fact, two years ago, I remember bringing two of these cakes to a party with my fiancé’s side of the family. Let’s just say, bellies were burning. 

If you think you can handle the strong but warming sensation of rum in your tum or you’d like to try something new, make Sharon’s Jamaican Fruit Cake this year… 

Well, you might have to make it next year instead since the fruits should soak in white rum and cherry brandy for months.

Even when my family didn’t celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, my mom would always bake a couple of rum cakes. 

The tradition was just too powerful and delicious to stop. I’ve followed in my mom’s footsteps and this is the third year I’ve made my very own rum cakes. 

Not to toot my own horn, but all of my results have been delectable.

I prefer a lighter, less pudding-like rum cake than most so, when I follow Sharon’s recipe, I only add half of the wine (which my mom and I like to substitute with cherry brandy). 

You can adjust the recipe according to your own preferences.

What are some of your favorite traditional foods in your family?

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What Makes The Holidays So Special?

I’m new to this whole Christmas thing and we all celebrate differently. That’s part of what makes it so special. 

That being said, a mindful approach is always beneficial. Perhaps you want to be more mindful of the sorts of presents you’re giving. 

Are you looking to give more meaningful gifts this year? Or are you trying to be more sustainable with your gifts?

You could be trying to dedicate more time to making happy memories with loved ones.

You can do this by spending quality time with them decorating your home or admiring the snow on a long family walk. 

Holiday traditions can create a comforting sense of belonging and community.

For my family, it’s baking rum cakes. Think about the traditions you want to carry on - or re-create. 

No matter how you celebrate this year, me and my friends at Oliver Charles hope you have the festivities of your dreams this year.

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Maud, my cat and a fellow sweater lover, is in the spirit this year. She wishes you a Happy Holidays and New Year!

Tosin Sanusi is a cat mother, amateur chef, and writer. Tosin writes personal essays from her crazy life and shares all the lessons she's learned along the way. 

If you believe that every good wardrobe starts with owning less and owning better, consider buying yourself an OLIVER CHARLES sweater.
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