Home for the Holidays

    For a lot of people who live away from home, the song "I'll be home for Christmas" will be on the minds of many travellers as we get closer to December 25th.  Vancouver is a great place to go home to celebrate the holidays.  It's just cold enough with a possible chance for snow, where everyone is bundled up in their snugly winter clothes.  There are plenty of social events happening around town if you want to catch some holiday spirit. You can go to a Christmas Fair, local theatre Christmas productions, or even just driving around Vancouver to find which house deserves the best decorated Christmas house award.

    I love Christmas and everything that comes with it.  As soon as American Thanksgiving is over, I'm ready to decorate the house.  It's a real family affair in my house and everyone gets involved.  It is a family tradition that I picked up from my family when I was child, which I hope to pass onto the next generation of my own family.  We spend a couple of days decorating our house for the holidays.  We scurry like little chipmunks, from the storage to the living room, with all the Christmas decorations in tow.  We start by hauling out our giant pre-lit Christmas tree and our many boxes of ornaments.  There are hundreds of ornaments and most of them are fragile and breakable.  Each year I manage to break a few, but, there's plenty to go around.  I often pick up a few more ornaments during the post Christmas sales. It gives me something to look forward to next year when I pull out my ornaments.

    During this festive time, I play holiday music both on my radio show and at home.  I'll be wandering around the house singing along with the radio.  I am well past the age of believing that Santa Claus is coming down the chimney on Christmas Eve, but it doesn't stop me from watching all those cheesy Christmas themed movies.  I don't care that the story line is predictable and that it's all going to end well.  Watching these films make me so happy and warm inside. 

    (left) I don't know how many ornaments there are on my tree!
    (right) I bought this flip-flop ornament in Hawaii.

    Frankly speaking, as far as Christmas gifts are concerned, I want everything for Christmas, even though I don't really need anything.  So I just focus on my family and friends that I will be shopping for.  Having said that, my list seems to be getting longer and longer!  I jokingly tell everyone that my shopping gift list is longer than a roll of toilet paper.

    With the world wide recession still very much around, it does take some creative thinking and lots of walking in the shops to fill my Christmas list.  I follow a simple rule when I'm choosing presents for everyone.  I ask myself if I would  like it if someone gave me that gift.  I think this is a fool proof way to avoid buying what I call "tat", or "worthless junk".  After all, how many pairs of cheesy Christmas boxer shorts can a guy wear? 

    Speaking of tacky gifts and especially tacky clothes, this year, I will be attending my first Ugly Sweater event.  I am both amused and surprised at how big and popular the ugly sweater phenomena is.  December 20th is the official National Ugly Sweater Day.  There's an ugly sweater run for charity and many ugly sweater parties.  Finally, a way to put to good use all those tacky sweaters that one has accumulated over the years.    

    What is Christmas without all the food that is associated with Christmas.  By the time Christmas day comes around, I will have gone through quite a few mince pies and several slices of Christmas fruit cake, and it's definitely not Christmas without some hot plum pudding with brandy butter.  My Canadian Chinese friends are a little horrified as they find this desert far too sweet for them despite my telling them that it's only once a year.  If I get real adventurous, I will even give it a go at baking.  Yes, that becomes a big ordeal and the kitchen needs to be cleaned from floor to ceiling when I am done.

    Although, I will be attending my fair share of parties and events, I secretly love staying at home.  Something about being bundled up on my couch, sipping eggnog (with a bit of rum) and eating mince pies while watching a Christmas movie is a slice of holiday magic for me! I'm dreaming of a White Christmas just like the ones I use to know............

    I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!