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Holiday love

December 14, 2018 2 min read

Holiday love


At what age does Christmas shift in our minds from a time of unblemished joy and excitement to bittersweet nostalgia? For me, it was probably around age 11; at least, it’s the memories up to that age that have, for decades since, comprised the poignant metaphysical universe I tend to inhabit for much of December.

I grew up in Montreal where I spent hours building sprawling underground fortresses in the snow, a la Calvin and Hobbes; back then, both time and snow were available in seemingly infinite quantities. As the holidays approached, I likewise wholeheartedly dove into the typical seasonal rituals we’re generally capable of buying into for a precious small slice of our lives: penning a letter to Santa; anticipating the angles and lumps of a present-filled stocking on the mantle; marveling at the beauty of sparkling tinsel on the tree — the rustling metallic strips mirroring the pre-dawn TV static that hypnotized me while I waited for my family to wake up on Christmas morning.

I loved how my late uncle Rudy invariably wrapped our presents in the Sunday comics; I loved my mom’s insatiable appetite for Elvis’ Christmas Album; I loved the way the world slowed down so my family could be together for hours on end. (The only negative feeling I recall from that time is of my own creation: I snuck a peek in my parent’s closet and found a Weebles Camper intended for me — an indiscretion that turned delight to guilt and regret in an instant.)

These days, I allow myself a little seasonal melancholy, often accompanied by Elvis or Vince Guaraldi. Still, I’m happy to my core watching my daughter cultivate her own holiday rituals. And I find enormous joy in my deeply diverse world of friends, our staff and, often, our customers, who so keenly and generously share their own traditions, beliefs, gifts, food and seasonal childhood memories with Danielle and me.

Beyond staying out of your parents’ closet, the one bit of unsolicited advice I can offer at this time of year is this: Don’t be afraid to ask people what holidays they celebrate and what meaningful rituals they loved, and still love, the most. Their answers will tell you almost everything you need to know.

Happy holidays,


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