Daily Archives: December 20, 2010

Weekend Roundup: Yule Edition

On Friday, we went and chose our tree. Hearing that local trees were $60, we chose to investigate the Boucherville IKEA for the first time, where we got an excellent 6-foot pine for a very satisfactory $20. It was pretty frozen in its wrapped shape even when we cut off the twine, but by the next morning it had thawed and the branches had opened beautifully.

On Saturday, while HRH helped a friend move in the morning, the boy and I made gingerbread:

When HRH got back home that afternoon, we decorated the tree:

On Sunday, we went to visit Santa. We ended up going back to LaSalle to Angrignon Mall for this, because despite there being three major malls around our new house on the South Shore, none of them listed enough information to actually schedule a visit. Either they didn’t post hours ( “call this number during business hours for info” is not entirely helpful when one is attempting to make a schedule for the next day) or they posted hours but didn’t post where Santa was set up (Dix30 being an outdoor shopping complex with no obvious central indoor location on its maps). So back to Angrignon we went, expecting our usual Santa, but we got a different one who was very jolly regardless. We had the brilliant idea of lining up before Santa opened for business, but a billion other families had the same idea and so we waited for an hour. Thank goodness the boy is at an age where that kind of wait isn’t hellish. We did have a bit of technical issue with the photo, though; he was very determined to be serious, but Santa had other ideas and tickled him. Every time the photographer took a picture the boy either stopped smiling or his eyes flickered past the camera to look at the sea of people behind her, and she got very cross at one point. But we have a good photo, which is proof that the boy actually sat on Santa’s lap, something he hasn’t done since he was two years old:

When asked what he wanted for Christmas the boy told Santa about one specific item. “You don’t want anything else?” Santa said, surprised. “No,” the boy said. “Just that, please.” He’d listed four things in his letter to Santa and specifically requested one of them in person, figuring that if he asked for one he’d run a better chance of getting it. And Mama patted herself on the back for buying it last month.

We did a bit of last-minute shopping, then went home and packed up for our annual Yule musical afternoon with the Preston-LeBlanc household. We made a stop at HRH’s parents’ house, because they hadn’t been able to come by on the Saturday as we’d hoped, then ran into awful, awful traffic on the Mercier bridge while trying to get back onto the island. The boy fell asleep, thank goodness, because it took us an hour to cover what should have been a fifteen-minute drive. We were very thankful to get to Jeff and Pasley’s warm and cosy home to share finger food, drink, songs, joy, and the company of chosen family.

It was a very long day indeed, mostly very enjoyable, but I was really wiped by the end of it.

Thoughts on the Return of the Light

I’m at a bit of a loss. In the past couple of days we’ve been hit by news about friends whose health has taken a turn for the worse, whose health issues have created emergencies that require hospitalization and bedside watches, or whose treatments have come to an end and they’ve chosen to return home to live the rest of their days in a place they love. Statistically speaking, I know bad things happen to people all year round. It just seems extra unfair when they happen at Christmas.

At the Winter Solstice we’re told to look toward the sun, to embrace its return, to cheer the vanishing dark. It’s hard to do that this year. I can turn it around and use the returning, strengthening light as a symbol of health returning — and indeed, I intend to use this symbolism for certain of the issues family and friends are facing right now — but for many people, it can’t be done. The best I can do is gather the rays of the sun and twine them gently around the vines that are my friends and acquaintances whose health cannot improve, to give them warmth and peace as they move westward. I can offer those rays to their families and closer friends, to use for strength and courage as they work through the challenge of supporting a loved one facing the end of one cycle of life.

I’m not feeling particularly Christmassy today. It’s probably not a bad thing our Yule celebration was cancelled as a result of some of this news.

However, when one has a five-year-old on board, one cannot retreat entirely from the Christmas season and magic. His joy and excitement are doing a lot to keep us on an even keel. This morning, when I was returning from what ought to be the last pre-Christmas grocery run, I remembered that the boy used to call the season “Kissmas” when he was just learning to talk, and it made me smile. Kissmas, indeed. Love your families and your friends, gentle readers. Tell them you love them not just at festive gatherings like those of the season, but every day. It ought to be Kissmas all the time in our lives.