Canada is experiencing old-fashioned Christmas weather. For the first time in more than 40 years, everyone across the country will have a white Christmas.
Growing up, it always seemed to me that December and January were the coldest months of the year. We always had snow up to our waists, and the day before Christmas was always cold.
The thermometer never ever rose about zero Fahrenheit (minus-18 C).
By late afternoon on Christmas Eve, the shopkeepers all had closed their doors to head home for a family supper. The bells of the churches called out to the community. The pews filled with worshippers.
After church, families might return home or visit with friends and begin exchanging gifts. The Christmas season of visiting was beginning.
Our family had a tradition of travelling to our cousins’ home on Christmas Eve. And part of the tradition of visiting our cousins was to walk from their home to the barn that housed their cows and horses.
The crisp air prompted a vigorous walk. Yet arriving at the barn, we almost could envision the night two centuries earlier where travellers took shelter with the animals in a barn. It’s a memory that’s still vivid in my mind.
As we walked back to my aunt and uncle’s home, we talked about what we felt and saw in the barn. The stars all seemed brighter. The snow sparkled from the moonlight. The wind had disappeared and the snow squeaked as we walked.
This year, we have many of the same conditions as I experienced in my youth. The snow has covered the earth with that soft white blanket. The nights have been cold and Christmas Eve promises to be as cold as I can remember.
The snow squeaks as I walk along it. The clear winter nights let all the stars sparkle down.
We are ready. The Christmas lights will sparkle brightly throughout the town and district. The bells will peal on Christmas Eve and families will find their way to their churches. Friends will visit and share in the special festive baking and foods.
The businesses of our community used to take a full two days off for Christmas, which was a time for family and sharing meals. It used to be focused on attending church services.
From our British heritage, Boxing Day was the day for giving gifts to less fortunate members of our communities. It has been adopted in many Commonwealth countries around the world.
For years, the community took it as a holiday and businesses remained closed. Boxing Day plans were made in advance and we spent the day visiting.
Everyone enjoyed the two days from work. It gave everyone time to relax and if Christmas fell on a Friday or Monday, merchants and their staffs were rewarded with a long weekend.
Maybe it was a simpler time. Maybe the need to find time for family and friends was more important.
Maybe we just don’t realize what we’ve lost.
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