Oh my! A green Christmas in Ontario? Picture source: http://niagaraatlarge.com/2011/12/23/kyoto-be-dammed-im-dreaming-of-a-green-christmas/

I have had to deliver a very careful and thoughtful explanation for the past two weeks to my inquisitive 5-year old, Colin. With great confidence and wisdom, Colin has announced over and over, “No snow? That means it’s not winter and so Santa won’t come if it’s not winter.” He has asserted this point over and over, using different phrasology every time. Do you know how difficult it is to persuade the concrete, logic of a 5-year old? If you ever want to give it a try, I can send him over to your place.

As I look back and think about each explanation that I have presented to Colin… I find myself siding with him, just a little bit. Now, I do realize that the season of winter is not contingent upon snow. I also realize that the arrival of Santa is not contingent upon the season of Winter. What I do believe though is this. It is in fact a very different feeling and experience when preparing for Christmas in the absence of snow. I might even go so far as to say that snow is in fact one key ingredient to generating that free Christmas spirit. Yes, spirit comes even when snow does not. But you have to admit, it’s so much more automatic and authentic when snow blankets our world.

So, Colin has a point. In some ways, it doesn’t feel like Christmas (exactly) when everything is muddy and green. Well guess what? Today is December 28th, and it is a bit late, but the snow has finally arrived here in Ontario!! Yahoo!!

As the snow thickened in the sky and fell to the ground, the “season” did begin to change.

A blanket of snow beautifies the Canadian Winter.

Even through Christmas was 2 days ago, I found myself generating Christmas spirit naturally. Perhaps Colin was (partially) right. Snow does create the Christmas spirit and it is that spirit that brings Santa. Well, the next line out of Colin’s mouth was predictable, “Hey! It’s snowing! Is it Christmas?!?!” Well how do you answer this one without breaking a heart? Up to that point, I kind of found all of Colin’s theories, and my explanations, to really be average (but humerous) conversation. Now, I think those conversations have burned into my collection of things “never to be forgotten.” So, all of this reasoning and reflection has inspired me to write about Winter.

Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories. ~From the movie An Affair to Remember

Although my favourite season is Spring, there are many reasons why I love Wintertime. I have many childhood memories set there. For whatever reason, I’m one of those people who doesn’t lock-in memories from childhood. I wish I could remember every cherished moment, but I don’t. This is probably why I love journal writing so much, because I know I can’t trust my selective memory.

My memories of Winter do warm my heart and soul. Because these memories live on for me, I think I have placed greater value on these moments in my life. I love how simple the acts are and how they revolve around activities and rituals of Wintertime. None of my memories are tied to unwrapping presents on Christmas morning, or going window shopping to create my Christmas list. My memories are in fact the everyday things that anyone can live and experience if you live in a Winter Wonderland!

Whether it’s marching through the snow, crunching through the ice, or slipping down the slopes…winter is a blast!

Every Canadian boy and girl loves the tradition of pond hockey and road hockey!

Long, long ago in the land of Whitehills, my brothers and I would venture outside for hours and hours on end. Some days we would build these magnificent ice palaces with carefully engineered snow balls hidden away inside. Other days, we would go to a friend’s house who had a pond in the backyard. I remember bundling up in a turtleneck, a knit sweater and doubling-up my socks. This was the carefully prepared ritual for….pond hockey! Bundling up in our 1980’s version of Under Armour was our way of surviving the Canadian Winter. Every Canadian boy and girl lost themselves to road hockey, pond hockey, ball hockey, and ….ice hockey. Once the “Under Armour” was on, it was time to suit-up in our hockey gear. We readied ourselves to brave the cold for at least the next FOUR hours! When our toes felt like they were soaking in acid, or our fingers were tipped with flames, and our faces felt as though we had been to the dentist for 10 fillings…we all knew it was time to head in for a quick hot lunch and chug back a hot chocolate. But not for long! We hurried through eating and drinking so that we could head back out for more. After all, we would have to continue to determine the day’s Stanley Cup Champions. This is what every Canadian child would endure, over and over again.

Not only is the Canadian winter packed with action and adventure, but it really is a beautiful time of year.

Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things,
but just look what they can do when they stick together.

Vesta M. Kelly

When snow has fallen, blanketing everything in sight, it is peaceful. Snow absorbs every

Snow makes even the backyard shed look beautiful. Picture source: Andrew Back, The Weather Network

sound and silences the noise and chaos of our world. To the eye, winter reveals the true beauty of nature and the unexpected beauty of our homes, gardens, cars, and even that old rickety shed in the backyard. Snow covers all, whiting-out what we otherwise see as blemishes. Snow leaves behind a utopia, captivating the eyes of artists, writers, musicians…and of course, you and me (if you’re none of the above).

As I walk the sidewalks, paths, and driveways my boots clunk and crunch through the packed snow. I kick through the powder watching it billow over the ridge of my boots, stinging my shins with their crystals.

My eyes blink and water in the crisp, blowing breeze. My fingers and toes burn over hours of shoveling, snowman building, and constructing snow fotresses.

The toboggan...worthy of a Nobel Prize!

My face tingles in the bitter wind chill as I sled down the hills, and hurl snow balls at my enemies. Ah yes, my favourite Canadian past time, tobogganing! Whoever invented the toboggan should be awarded a Nobel Prize! Tobogganing is the ultimate activity for the young and old. Whether you’re 6 months old, or 96 years old – everyone has a smile on their face when they race down that slope. You might race down the hill on your GT Racer, your Snow Fox, your Alpine Rider, or your legendary wooden toboggan. The activity give rises to this common human experience…joy, happiness, a little fear, and a lot of courage. You won’t find too many winter citizens shying away from an offer to go tobogganing. It’s who we are. It’s part of our identity.

This is my Canadian winter!

I wanted to let the Christmas holiday arrive and pass, then reflect on what it means to me. I had to STOP myself a few times from writing to mark that day, because I knew that I would be writing for the sake of writing.

So everyone, Happy Holidays! I hope that your time is filled with story telling, reminiscing, and story building. May you, and those around you, band together to create new memories. All of us, young and old, love a good, warm memory.

This is one of my most favourite Christmas stories. I used to share it with students in my class, back when we were allowed to celebrate the Christmas season more freely.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus (mysanantonio.com)

This is a great news story! I love the spontaneity and joy in this simple moment.

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