You know how I love Christmas and you know how I love getting mail? Well, yesterday, the two crossed paths. TWO, not just one, package notifications were in my mailbox, and I walked home with 2 boxes. I texted my mother, just in case one could be opened right away, only to get a reply at 5am her time, telling me no, they both had to wait until December 25th.
I walked home about 5 inches taller, which at 5’2 is a big leap upwards. I left them under my housemate’s bed: out of sight, out of mind. I feel my mother has unfairly prepared me for this. Growing up, 99.9% of our gifts were only delivered on Christmas Morning. Since becoming adults and having to help Santa with delivering his gifts, our gifts were left sitting under the tree without a name on them. No, we never forgot to give a gift or who one was for, well at least not by the time the turkey was served. So, for the first time ever, I have been given my gifts, with my name on them, 16 days before Christmas.
My mother is annoyed that the post worked so fast: currently mail is getting across the Atlantic faster than any time since I got here. I do applaud the postal service for their diligence, however, I have to look at my gifts for more than 2 weeks, unopened! The anticipation is overwhelming. Given the time difference, I wonder can I open my gifts along with my family, through the power of the Internet which would mean I’d be opening them around midnight, which is, of course, still December 25th. I think that would be fair.
Christmas Day is still a work in progress. We need to work out what we are eating: traditional or contemporary, the time we are eating, and who will be here. We know that there will be a Christmas Eve Service, Baileys, either in coffee or hot chocolate, and to my surprise, it will be hot chocolate for me: hot chocolate has raised in my estimation in Canada, largely due to a little place in Montreal called Juliette et Chocolat. There will be a few Skype dates. It is almost certain there will be a Christmas Film playing, and it is time the negotiations for that began. Apparently, a Banff tradition is tobogganing. They use proper toboggans too, I hear. I’ve seen them on sale. That’s a few steps up from us using fertiliser bags in the back field, and I’m not sure they’ll be any better to tell you the truth.
It is now the second week of Advent, and in the preparation so far, I feel just like I would if I were at home. Perhaps having a big family that keep in close contact means that I feel part of all their celebrations. Yet, it is more than that. To me, Christmas is about hope, love and joy, and that permeates all, whether it is my family I am sharing it with or my new friends. I see it in the customers in the store and the people on the street. It is about seeing the best and not focusing on the worst. It is about knowing where exactly your gifts are but loving the giver and the day enough to know that it will be so much more special to leave them unopened until Christmas Day.