There are several things that Canada does par excellence. One of them is Christmas. It doesn’t quite matter that there are no beautiful Christmas markets, the type that exist in bountiful supply throughout Europe
Christmas here is a delicious blend of active church services, exciting capitalism – assuaged by charitable endeavours, massive piles of food, and even more massive piles of snow. It can be excessive, such as during the mad rush pre-and-post Christmas to desperately snap up gifts or to sweep up the rest of the stuff on shelves at 70% off.
For many, this time of the year is incredibly inconvenient, mainly because of the blinding white sheets of snow and ice that drape themselves over every lawn, road and house. Sure its cold, but the shovels and smiles are warm. Almost everyone is on holiday. In NL, the Dutch don’t get the day off for Sinterklaas (December 5) (I find this quite strange), and Christmas has become a feuding point over one of the country’s anchor traditions (Zwarte Piet) (even stranger). The Dutch Christmas is pretty, practical, and politically-fraught.
Maybe one day, I will learn to seamlessly adopt the particularities of the peoples in my country of abode, but for now, home is still what the heart yearns for. And as we know, yearnings are usually romantic, but rarely practical.
Merry Christmas – or as Canadians in a multicultural country are taught to say – Have a Happy Holiday Season!