Christmas was a subdued affair at my parents’ home in King City this year. We had a quiet celebration with my aunts and uncles on both the French and the Macedonian sides of my family. We drank a little wine, ate a lot of food, and exchanged gifts just after midnight on Christmas Eve. This holiday is special, for two reasons: first, I am Catholic and I take great joy in celebrating the birth of Jesus; second, December 24 is my brother, Christophe’s birthday. So it really is two parties in one, which could be a downer for him, except for the fact that he does, indeed get two gifts, or at least a doubly-precious single gift. We had turkey and chocolate cake and we spent a lot of time reminiscing. This was a nostalgic Christmas, strangely enough.
The days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve were supposed to be productive for me, but all of the traveling that I did in the fall and early winter had wiped me out. I also found myself marking all the way up to Christmas Eve, which was exhausting. Immersing yourself in the minds of so many people, trying to understand why they wrote what they did and what spider web of thoughts underlie their arguments can be intricate and persnickety. It is a mental and emotional challenge. It takes it out of you. So I spent a lot of time sleeping between Christmas and New Year’s!
On New Year’s Day, I visited with some old friends at their hobby farm north of Toronto. It was a beautiful couple of days, full of good cheer, fun and music. My friends have a baby grand piano, so we listened to the kids playing songs and also played some board games, as we sipped port and cognac by the fire. On New Year’s Eve we went for a late-night stroll in the freshly fallen snow, under the moonlight through a farmer’s field and into a little wood. The spruce trees’ boughs were heavy with new snow and the slight wind picked up a swirling mist of powder snow that, when it caught the moonbeams around us, filled the air with fairy dust and little flying comets.
Because the children were small and New Year’s happens awfully late, we actually celebrated Nova Scotia New Year’s at 11pm with the children and had a second toast at Toronto midnight amongst the adults. The next day we had a great game of pond hockey, one family against the other. Myself and the other bachelor present were allotted, one to each team, to keep things fair.
It was a beautiful pair of days.