Excitement over Christmas is starting to really build, depending on who you talk to. As for me, well, here’s my must-happen list before I get *truly* excited about the holidays.
It’s not the holidays until Remembrance Day has come and gone. Yes, I know this is a hot-button issue among many; do you wait until November 11 has passed before getting really serious about Christmas? In all honesty, I just say to each their own, but personally, I’m all about waiting until those other holidays are officially out of the way before I really start concentrating on Christmas. In October alone, you’ve got Thanksgiving (at least for us Canucks) and Halloween, and then after Halloween it’s less than two weeks before Remembrance Day. I don’t know how all veterans feel about it, but to me it’s just a personal choice to let a solemn day of remembrance pass us by on the calendar before I get serious about putting up the lights, decorating the house, putting up the tree, you get the drift. Now, retail stores mixing up the narrative by having Christmas AND Halloween stuff on the shelves because it’s still October? That’s messed up.
It’s not the holidays until our newspaper has started giving the public official notice of our holiday hours over the last couple weeks in December heading into the New Year. This week we’re pretty fortunate to have around 15 days off, and to me that’s a great Christmas gift that outdoes any overpriced gadget dreamt up by Apple or Microsoft. Presents are nice and all, but these days I’m all about having TIME as a gift; time to spend with my family, time to spend with my friends, and time to just make memories because those are irreplaceable.
It’s not the holidays until the flyers for Santa Claus Day are drawn up and plastered all over town and social media. Yes, even the arrival of some flyers to announce the day that St. Nick is comin’ to town is enough to get a guy excited.
This leads to…
It’s not the holidays until Santa Claus Day itself has arrived in Outlook. I fondly remember going to the free movie at the Lyric Theatre on Santa Claus Day as a kid, and then lining up with everyone to get that free candy bag from Santa himself at the side exit door. I remember a few times as kids when the day was over, and we had our bag of candy and memory of meeting Santa, one of my parents (sometimes Lynda, sometimes Jack) would drive us over to the Raylen Motel (Bird’s Nest Inn for you younger folks) to rent movies for the rest of the weekend. My parents were happy because we were happy, and if filling us up with sugar for the rest of that Saturday and letting us watch movies all night in the basement was enough to entertain us (that’s all we needed back then, junk food and VHS tapes), then it was fine by Jack and Lynda if it meant having a quieter night to themselves in the upstairs part of the house!
These days, Santa Claus Day has become probably my favorite day in Outlook (maybe next to Canada Day) because I get to cover the proceedings armed with my trusty Canon and a flair for the written word. I like seeing the looks on kids faces when Santa pulls up on his sleigh, and then their conversations with him when they get ready to have their picture taken with him. I also really enjoy the tree lighting ceremony done at the museum, which is going into its third edition this year. The fact that Outlook has an official community Christmas tree is something that just seems like a great throwback occurrence, like a puzzle image you’d see for sale in an old Sears catalogue depicting ‘Canadian Christmas Towns’.
It’s truly not going to be the holidays until my family and I start hitting the road bound for Candle Lake to spend Christmas. If I remember right, we booked the cabin in early to mid September, and right away I started sarcastically asking, “Is it December yet? Is everyone packed? Are we good to go? Did everyone pack their long johns in case we find ourselves isolated in the woods?” Two months and change ago, those jokes were met with deadpan responses because it seemed like December was so far away. But guess what – it’s not so far away now. In fact, the date of this week’s issue – November 22 – marks just one month until we pack everything up and hit the road for up north.
Until all of those things happen, it’s just not the holidays. Not yet.
But they’re close. Man oh man, are they ever close!
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.