Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Double-Oh-Seven
Christmas Past
Is it true that you can never go home? I'm starting to believe it. For so many years the only place I could enjoy Christmas was in the house I grew up in. No matter how inviting another house was, I remained a guest in an alien place where everything seemed out of place. Now that alien place is the house where I grew up. For years I tried inventing traditions only to discover you can't. Traditions are just things that happen every year with only a minimum of effort. The more you force something, the more forced it feels. For the last seven years we've woven a Christmas that is tiring, full of eating and leftovers, new experiments and old favorites, and generally, I look forward to a few hours of bustling madness, followed by a few hours of intoxicating quiet. Best yet, our Christmas days are ones we make with very few obligations. We've been lucky. A Christmas in Toronto involves little travel, a lot of food and is pretty much done by midnight, December 25th. I had forgotten how Boxing Day can be drawing out Christmas a little too long (even if it's only 12 hours too long).

I can honestly say, that working over Christmas is actually not bad at all. Due to the absence of most everyone else, you can actually get a lot done with no interruptions, go for leisurely lunches without guilt, and get home easily because there's no traffic. Best of all, because you can't spend the day asleep with an unread book lying open on your chest, the Christmas hangover is, if not avoided, at least minimized. This year, I'll have to depend on James Bond, coffee and shoveling to stay alert while tiptoeing around the food, drink and ennui-induced Holiday Coma that results in the common amnesia that makes so many Christmases blend into one another. This year, while some will mourn the loss of Oscar Peterson, and Benazir Bhutto I'll mourn the loss of Christmas Past.

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