Now that we’ve survived the ugliness of November and Black Friday nonsense, it’s time to move on to a more positive experience in The Last Month of the Year.
Those who know me well would be surprised to find out I include Christmas in that positive experience. Although the 25th of December has profound religious significance, the time leading up to it and most of the day itself is a personal turnoff – an exercise in Marketing and consumer largesse. However for a long time I countered this negativity by concentrating on the Advent season – we all know anticipation is better than when the day gets here, and Advent is all about waiting and reflecting on the wait. My sweet little granddaughter reminded me yesterday that the Advent wreath is out now, along with the Advent calendar. Bless her heart.
That said there are a lot of real positives about the month of December, to wit:
- Significant birthdays. Jesus of course. But two rather remarkable women were born in December – my mother (Dec.17) and Maria’s (Dec. 25 – the big day itself.) Those anniversaries are good for a lifetime of memories and of course one lady is still with us and making more. And speaking of getting bombed, my brother-in-law Serge shares his birthday with the anniversary of Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7.) He’s never allowed to forget this.
- Christmas music. My collection goes back to stuff recorded close to 60 years ago although I’ve probably been collecting in earnest for about 35. I’ve got some on vinyl, but mostly it’s on CDs now. It’s largely traditional stuff – not too much of the pap you hear in Shopper’s Drug Mart. I’ve got everything from the Moody Blues to the Philadelphia Orchestra, from Nat King Cole to the Chieftains. It’s all good. For those of you who may wonder what rock groups have to do with it, just listen to Justin Hayward sing “In the Bleak Midwinter” and get back to me.
- The CP holiday train. I saw this train a couple of times shortly after we moved to Almonte, when the trains still came here. Now I’d have to go to Smiths Falls I guess. The experience is impressive – the locomotives are decorated with thousands of lights, the rolling stock is vintage CPR Pullmans and business cars, and where else could you hear Jim Cuddy or Wide Mouth Mason perform from inside a boxcar stage? Well worth planning a trip when the train rolls through a town near you.
- Light Up the Night. Nothing says small town Christmas better than this early December Almonte extravaganza. The crowds each year attest to its popularity. Come see for yourself but get there early to find a parking spot.
- The first snowfall. It’s a lot easier to take when you’ve got the snowblower ready, you don’t have to drive in it and you really haven’t seen any snow since March. December snow is much nicer than it is on Valentine’s Day.
- Christmas at home. It may happen this year. Let’s hope it does.
- The grandchildren. Nothing makes the holidays like watching them through the eyes of a child. They are already gearing up to come here as often as they can this month – whether on Christmas itself or to do their own Christmas shopping at The Hub’s special kids day. Can’t wait to see what presents they choose.
- Freedom Day. I celebrate it every year on the Winter Solstice. I retired on Dec. 21, 2004. 11 years and counting.
Wishing you all a Happy December.