Mila is a chocolate Parti Cockapoo. She is the boss of the house, according to her owner Annette Supruniuk.
“She has to have her way about everything. Like, she doesn't go for a walk. She goes for sniffs instead. You have to go at her pace,” said Supruniuk.
Whether you knit them little stockings or dress them up in Christmas sweaters to get their pictures with Santa, pets are family – sometimes the boss of the family – and it wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t include them in our traditions.
In Supruniuk’s (Mila's) house, Mila helps to decorate the tree when they set it up, she has her own stocking and she gets presents at Christmas. She also has an advent calendar that hangs along the mantle beside her stocking. She gets treats from the calendar every day.
“She's very, very, very fussy, but she likes Greenies so she'll get a Greenies in there,” said Supruniuk. “She loves fish snacks, but we can't put those snacks in there because they just stink too much.”
The biggest tradition Mila takes part in is Christmas dinner. She gets to sit next to her uncle – at the table.
“She has her own chair at the table, her uncle is my ex-husband. He feeds her bits of turkey or beef or whatever we're having.
“It’s very wrong. She has me wrapped around her paw, that’s for sure,” laughed Supruniuk.
Meghan Barclay has two Christmas cats. John McClane was a Christmas kitten for her children three years ago. He was named McClane after Die Hard, which according to Barclay’s husband, is a Christmas movie. (Barclay herself hasn’t always shared his point of view on that matter.)
John McClane has always been a Christmas cat, though, and he often helps Barclay by rolling himself up in the garland before she can put it up.
“It's not just in his name, but it's in his blood – he absolutely just loves Christmas,” said Barclay.
Their other cat, Other One, was a Boxing Day gift after McClane came into their lives. He's a Christmas kitty, too, and both cats seem to enjoy the season, especially the garland. Barclay said her family doesn’t have any solid pet traditions with their cats on Christmas, but there is one thing.
“In terms of like an actual tradition that we've done with (John McClane) for the last few years, we’ve watched Die Hard with him. I've since converted, now – of course Die Hard is a Christmas movie. And so, it has been added to our yearly roster,” Barclay said. “We always will bring his cat post out to the bonus room where we're watching Die Hard movies, and he pays attention every time he hears his name in the movie.”
Krista Gilby-Meyerink has a cat named Coal and three dogs: Ellie May, Otis, Zarrah. They are the ones who adorn Christmas cards in their Christmas sweaters, not the humans.
“It's kind of gotten to the point that everyone always comments on how cute the animals look in their sweaters. So, we actually just put the animals on the Christmas cards now. The humans are off,” said Gilby-Meyerink.
The animals also get gifts every year. Gilby-Meyerink said everything originally started when her previous dogs grabbed gifts from under the Christmas tree and tried to rip them open because they wanted to be a part of the family’s Christmas festivities. So her mother started wrapping gifts for the dogs too.
“She used to wrap a toy for them, but they ended up eating the wrapping paper. So that went out the window,” said Gilby-Meyerink.
Now they all get gift bags, including the cat. They put treats at the bottom of the bag and toys on the top.
“They smell the treats, but they have to get the toys out in order to get the treat,” explained Gilby-Meyerink. “So that keeps them kind of occupied while the people are doing their thing.”
Who actually is being kept occupied is open for debate.
“I mean, the majority of the time, we end up stopping whatever we're doing and watch them, because they usually get their head stuck in the bag.”