• Kevin Lamport

Merry Christmas, good riddance 2021 - a blog, in 1000 Words or Less


I’ve said before that as Canadians, we have to put up with horrible winter weather of one kind or another. Short, freezing cold days, relentless rain, ice storms, blizzards…pick your horrible. When I wrote this, it was snowing on the west coast and when it comes to picking my horrible, snow is at the top of the list. I hate snow with a blinding white-hot hatred that defies all description. If possible, I hide under the bed when the snow starts falling and I stay there until the white goes wherever it goes when snow melts.


For many people, snow marks the beginning of the Christmas season. I blame television. No matter where you live (according to television), snow and Christmas are synonymous. You call Maui home, you can expect a miracle (freak) snow storm on Christmas Eve. I guess then, since it’s snowing here today, instead of raining as it should be on the wet…er…west coast, Christmas is upon us.


Good to know.


Without a definitive marker, I wasn’t sure.


I mean, the season could have started on October 31st when our local grocery store jumped the gun and put the Halloween candy away before the trick-or-treaters started knocking on doors. Since Halloween is ridiculous and not a real holiday, I didn’t buy anything to give away, so my wife stopped on her way home from work to make up for my indifference. She found the shelves already stocked with Christmas candy. She bought a tin of Quality Street and gave the sparkly chocolates to the little costumed sugar fiends.


In unrelated news, the most trick-or-treaters we've ever had, visited our house.


I suppose the Christmas season may have started a couple of weeks after Halloween, in mid-November when the radio station at my favourite coffee shop started playing Christmas songs. I’m not a fan of Christmas music. I mean, does anyone else find (Feed the World) Do they know it’s Christmas? incredibly condescending?


Does anyone else find Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmas Time gratingly annoying?


And, I don’t know, but do we really need Bruce Springsteen’s version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town? One of the hardest working artists in music made what has been called one of the greatest albums of all time. Born in the USA sold tens of millions of copies and spawned seven top ten singles. It’s filled with songs that speak to feelings of nostalgia and sentimentality. The title track describes the disenfranchisement of a lower-class Vietnam vet. Heady themes, compared to a silly Christmas song that sounds like the Boss is struggling to make something out of very, very little.


Some people might feel Christmas movies on television are a good indication the season has started…except Hallmark Christmas movies are on all the time. Or, maybe it only seems like they’re on all the time, perhaps because they’re all exactly the same and one blends into another. I suspect the producers simply change the title of the same movie, and then play it on a loop. I’d never claim to be a world class writer but the dialogue in these things makes me cringe. Nobody has ever expressed his love for another individual in words quite as inane as those spoken in a Hallmark movie.


Of course, nobody has ever blown up a skyscraper in bloody bare feet while saying, “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker,” but I feel like the events in Nakatomi Plaza are more realistic than those that take place in Any-Town USA on the Hallmark channel.


For a fully immersive experience, don’t you love it when a Christmas movie is interrupted by a commercial advertising Christmas products? Does anyone else feel as though they're missing out on all the frantic fun people seem to have when they Christmas shop at Canadian Tire?


Maybe it’s the decorations that officially start the season. In the little town in which I live, multi-coloured lights go bright at the end of November, and do the ever go bright! The light show this town puts on is nothing less than spectacular. To mark the occasion there’s a parade, street vendors and a firework show that just keeps going. It's the most lucrative day of the year for many retail establishments. Thousands of people fill the four-block main street. Tour busses carrying hundreds of out-of-towners arrive from north and south.


Thanks to Covid, the light-up event was cancelled last year, as well as this year, and that’s a real shame because the Festival of Lights is something the entire town enjoys.


So, maybe for me, that’s when the season begins.


Or, possibly it’s when those wonderful, dedicated Salvation Army people set-up with their hand-bells and donation globes, stand in the cold outside the liquor store or the grocery store.


Or, it could be when Baileys comes out with its latest limited-time flavour…Apple Pie? Not sure about that one but, yeah, I’ll give it a taste.


It could be when people (for the first and last time all year), eat chocolate covered cherries or drink eggnog, or when a Star Wars themed advent calendar make sense, or when we actually follow through and visit the friends and family we haven’t seen a while, instead of saying, “One day…”


I’ve heard people say they don’t enjoy Christmas; it’s too commercialized. They’re not necessarily wrong, but as a gauge, is Christmas candy in October, bad music in November, syrupy movies interrupted by commercials that pressure a person to consume, the best way of making such an all-encompassing determination? I mean, a person doesn’t have to pay attention to all the…stuff. He can pick and choose. He could choose to take the slow road home, drive past extravagantly decorated buildings draped with colourful Christmas lights while eating chocolate covered cherries. For example.


As the song goes, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”


Except for summer. Summer is pretty great too.


But, since it’s December, not July, let’s enjoy the silly season. It won’t last long and it’s certainly better than everything else that’s going on in the world. If nothing else, the Christmas season is the dying breath of the year and saying, "Good riddance," to 2021 brings me joy, as I'm sure it does everyone who's had enough of Covid. As for the snow, well, I spent a Christmas in Maui and I have to say, it didn’t snow despite television's promise, and I loved it!


Merry Christmas.


Kevin


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