If you live in Canada (and many other parts of the world), whether you celebrate or not, you are surrounded by Christmas. Through the twentieth century, and into the twenty-first, this Christian holiday has crossed over and immersed itself in all parts of society. So for me, just living in Canada, means I am part of the Holiday season and all the good (and bad) that goes with it.
As we live in the heart of a big city, my children are exposed to many different kinds of cultures every day of the year. They see Chinese New Year festivals mid-winter. Ramadan, celebrated by Muslims, is a holiday they learned about in the spring this past year. And there is Diwali in the Fall, which is observed by Hindus.
But Christmas is something else. It’s everywhere. From lights on our neighbours’ homes to commercials on TV to utter insanity in every store, this holiday is all around us. During the month of December, I feel there is a special spirit in the air. We may run around like crazy people, schlepping kids to school, struggling in traffic to get to work and fighting for the last parking spot in the mall. But somehow, there is a feeling of good cheer all around, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.
December in most Canadian cities can feel dark and everything around seems dirty. It’s the time of year with the fewest hours of light and the trees are bare. We hope for bright skies and fresh falling snow. Canadians are dreaming of a White Christmas. And I mean all Canadians, even me.
And this year, ta da, many of us got just that. We made our way yesterday afternoon to London, Ontario, to the home of David’s sister. She celebrates Christmas with her family, and for the past number of years we have joined them. My kids love to spend time with many members of their extended family, and Christmas gives us the opportunity to do that.
On Sunday afternoon, we drove through Southwestern Ontario as a winter storm was brewing, and as we approached London, the skies began to darken, fog rolled in and then the snow. By the time we arrived at my sister-in-law’s home the streets were snow covered and the storm was starting to come in full force.
The beautiful, fluffy white snow blanketed the neighbourhood overnight, brightening the sky with its clean reflection. We woke up this morning to what I love best – that light, fluffy and bright snow that every child dreams of on Christmas morning.
We actively participate in the morning rituals of opening gifts and enjoyed a scrumptious brunch of fried eggs, bagels, hot coffee and other goodies. There are treats to nibble on all over the house, and tonight we will enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by David’s sister and her husband – giant kosher turkey and all!
The snow continues to fall steadily outside, the wind is blowing, sending the snow upwards sometimes too. It’s freezing cold outside for sure, but it’s warm and cozy where I’m sitting. I am watching the snow fall, and it brings a smile to my face. This is what this time of year is all about in Canada – where dreams of a White Christmas come true.