Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

A lot of things surprised me when I moved north of the border. In Canada, it’s more Tim Hortons than Dunkin Donuts. Milk comes in bags. Elections can happen any old time. There is a lot less information on your average label, because they need room for both French and English. And Smarties are still candy, but not at all what I’m used to.

And what, I asked, is this event called Boxing Day, a.k.a. December 26th? In modern Canada, this Commonwealth holiday is typically associated with Black Friday style sales, but it’s also a day for holiday fun and generosity.

What Is Boxing Day? The History, Purpose, and Name Meaning

The BBC explains that Boxing Day got its name when Queen Victoria held the throne in the 1800s, and is borne out of the tradition of wealthy families boxing up gifts to give to the poor. Since servants of aristocrats were required to work on Christmas, the following day became the time when their employers filled up boxes with gifts, money, and Christmas leftovers for them, much like a holiday bonus. 

So today I think I’ll drink some eggnog, enjoy the snow, drink more eggnog, and donate to some of the local organizations I like. 

Because Santa took care of Christmas, and now the rest is up to us.

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Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

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It’s December and starting to feel like the holidays; I am behind on presents, and the tree we’ve had up since before Covid is finally seasonal again, so situation normal. I’m also planning my end-of-year donations, to food banks, animal welfare groups, medical and other help for those who need it, and more.

We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light a candle that can guide us through the darkness to a safe and sure future.

— John F. Kennedy

This video of the Children’s Choir of Ukraine is helping me get into the holiday spirit.

They also gave another performance in Grand Central: Ambassador Bridget A. Brink on Twitter: “Light amid darkness…

For more on the choir and the Ukrainian origins of the song itself, check out this article.

100 years ago, ‘Carol of the Bells’ came to America — from Ukraine : NPR

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Photo by Rob Wicks on Unsplash

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Confession time: We did not celebrate Thanksgiving yesterday.

For scheduling and supply reasons, it’s often odd to celebrate the holidays of a country other than the one you are in. Mr Man was at the office all day yesterday, I was working too, and it all seemed like a bit much.

Today, however, it’s turkey time! Well, not actually turkey, because apparently it’s impossible to find fresh turkey outside of Canadian Thanksgiving (in October) and the frozen variety requires far too much planning. So, roast chicken. Also mashed potatoes and acorn squash and cranberry sauce and stuffing and other dishes that say Turkey Day to me.

Because I want to take time to be thankful, even if I can’t be thankful for turkey.

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The turkey is totally fine with this. Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash

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“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

― Oprah Winfrey

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

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One thing about adulthood is that you get better at peering behind life’s facade and seeing its complexities.

That’s not always fun, but the good part is that you get to decide what to make of it for yourself.*

If there is a wizard behind the curtain, shouldn’t it be you?

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This holiday season won’t be what we hoped. I won’t be seeing my family in person this year. I keep reminding myself how tiring the drive is but it’s thin consolation.

What isn’t thin is that I can rest easy knowing that I won’t be passing on any Canadian Covid, or even the flu, to my immunocompromised family members. That’s a whole lot of yay.

We also now have the option of making this holiday whatever we want. An author I follow had a good take on this idea so feel free to head on over and take a gander. 

It’s ok, I’ll wait.

It’s not like I’m going anywhere.

Guilt Free

“This won’t do.

You still have a right to peace and happiness this holiday season, whichever holiday you choose to celebrate. Decide what that happiness is and go for it.”

— Ilona Adrews

Excellent idea.

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* Also, if you want to have ice cream for breakfast, dangit, you can.

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We Earned This One

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Despite yesterday’s post today is officially Canadian Thanksgiving, but (according to Mr. Man) it’s traditional to celebrate the Sunday before and have one’s turkey or other hangovers on the holiday Monday. That way you’re recovered and ready for work on Tuesday.

So sensible, these Canadians!

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Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

“Cut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.” 

― Yogi Berra

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Half Day

Today is a holiday in Canada so while I had to work this morning, I’m taking the afternoon off to sit outside, read, and drink a tasty beverage. I’m thinking Sangria-ish, a new drink I’m perfecting with whatever I happen to have in the fridge, like half a bottle of Alsatian red, frozen lime cubes, haskap juice, lemonade, cherries, and sparkling water:)

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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Today is Bastille Day.

Photo by Joe deSousa on Unsplash

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Today is also a family member’s birthday, yay!

Photo by Robert Anderson on Unsplash

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And on this day, years ago, I visited a floating market in Thailand.

At 6:45 this morning I hopped a bus for a two-hour ride to the floating market at Damnoen Saduak. I’m sure the pictures will tell the tale well, as long as the viewer can also imagine the sticky heat of the morning sun rising over a town whose streets are made entirely of water. It was totally touristy and, admittedly, lots of fun.

On the way there the bus stopped at a coconut oil factory, made obvious from the road by the mounds of coconuts piled everywhere. A woman stood by a huge stove and swirled coconut oil or juice around and around in the largest wok I’ve ever seen. She actually had three of these monstrosities cooking at once, each in various stages of reduction. Every so often she’d reach over and grab another handful of coconut husk to stoke the fire. I couldn’t resist a bag of coconut candy; it’s probably 99 percent fat and terrible for me, but it tasted like richly-flavored brown sugar. Delicious.

The first boat driver was a little throttle happy, so we got the speed demon tour of the town’s waterways. He’d race full ahead toward a wall, then turn at the last minute. The front of the boat would turn sharply, the back swing around, and we’d race off to the next corner to do it all again. Along the way I realized how little difference there is between streets of gravel and water. All along the banks there were walkways leading up to people’s houses, small yards where they kept everything from pets to fishing traps, and little garages off to the side where they parked their boats at night. One difference: on the canals’ sides I noticed an odd creature, a fluffy pink worm-like animal that looked a little like a small sea cucumber. It was easy to spot because it was hot hot pink. 

The first thing we were encouraged to do after stepping out of the boat was to get right back in another. For a few dollars a sightseeing boat of sorts would shuttle tourists around the main market canal. In a few seconds we were off with the rest of the boats, making our way along the canal crowded with boats carrying food, trinkets, and other tourists. The only thing they told us was to watch our fingers, as the boat’s metal-rimmed edges collided frequently. Good to know. 

Almost all of the boats selling things were occupied by women. They talked amongst themselves while making fried rice cakes or chopping open coconuts for us to drink. It seemed like a crowded market anywhere, just on the water.

A woman with a Bunsen burner and stack of bowls in her boat made noodle soup. As my boat mate sat back to slurp up his lunch, a man came over and asked me a question.

He wanted to know why I wasn’t eating too, and wanted to assure me that the food was both good and safe. By pointing at a passing boat and a billboard adorned with smiling faces and happy stomachs, he managed to let me know that the market had been established as a “Safe Eating Zone” which was enforced by police. I could eat without fear. I thanked him and let him know by pointing at my stomach that I just wasn’t hungry. I tasted some of the soup soup and declared it delicious. We concluded the conversation with smiles and thanks. 

Pretty good, considering neither knew a word of the other’s language.

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J.R. Johnson

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