Published – December 6, 2017
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
Dec. 1 is the day my official seasonal cheer begins and with it comes the task of working out an intense schedule of Christmas concerts, visits with Santa, present buying and wrapping, holiday meals and charitable acts. It’s hustle and bussell at its finest and, although I cherish the fact that year after year I get to repeatedly spend my time with family and close friends, this last week I couldn’t help spending some time remembering Decembers past.
The first year I ever spent away from Red Lake I was living in Ottawa for college and December came with its usual fanfare. Missing home and the cheer this time of year always brought, my mission was to take time out of my study schedule and visit Parliament Hill to see the seasonal light display, but I had one caveat. There had to be snow on the ground. What is a holiday display without the lights reflecting off of a fresh dusting of holiday cheer? If the reaction of my new southern friends was any indication that was apparently what much of southern Ontario and Quebec experienced on a regular basis.
Each day I would get up, look outside, and to my dismay the ground remained a combination of fall leaves and brown grass. My friends finally convinced me to give up on the idea of snow and see the light display on Dec. 20, the night before my flight was scheduled to bring me back to the winter wonderland that is Red Lake. Waking up the following morning I had to dig out a pair of boots because winter had arrived overnight, literally. I hauled butt to the airport before the city was shut down from the dusting and happily headed north.
Almost 20 years later I am sitting on Howey Street looking at a schedule of holiday events that both excite and exhaust me and am cursing the yet again falling snow as it blankets the region with “frickin” cheer and putting a damper on my evening plans. This cursing is not at all helped by my facebook view into the lives of my Ottawa friends who are still comfortably wearing running shoes and heavier sweaters while they troll from store to store and along the Rideau Canal sans snow.
Here in the north I don’t think we have ever had a holiday season without needing to lace up the warm and/or waterproof boots or shovel out the walkway to ensure Santa has an easy pathway.
What’s a Santa Claus parade without frozen fingers, rosy cheeks and bubbling hot chocolate to warm you up? Where would the excitement and anticipation be for community events in that the weather dictates attendance? What fun is decking the halls if you don’t have to fumble your way with your ladder through four feet of snow to hang your holiday lights or to set up your outdoor decorations? This last one I will have to ask my grampa who goes all out every year and would probably appreciate a couple extra weeks of grass as he maneuvers the lights and the wreaths.
‘Tis the season for sharing and laughter and time spent with family and friends, but it’s also the season for snowmen, tobogganing, snowfall fights and ice skating. It keeps getting harder and harder to remember this and appreciate the winter weather for what it is. Thank goodness for warm socks, discount vacation websites and a husband who shovels the driveway.