Sunday, December 27, 2009

Solstice! Christmas! So much fun!

Our holiday celebrations started on Monday, December 21st with the Festival of Lights in Kensington Market, which is their annual Winter Solstice celebration. It was amazing how many people were there, considering that it was freezing cold out and a Monday night. There was a parade of people with home-made lanterns and outlandish costumes, and a bunch of other fire and light related stuff. It was really lovely!

Crowds of people on Augusta Avenue:



Homemade lanterns:


Solstice costumes:


Then on Thursday, they gave us a free lunch at work and let us all go early! This was especially nice since they had been telling us that we would definitely have to stay until 5. Matt and I had thought that we would have to take the bus to Kingston (which you can't pre-purchase tickets for - it's basically first come, first serve), since all the trains after 5 pm had been sold out for weeks and weeks. But since I was finished early, we were able to make an earlier train that still had seats. Lovely! Traveling by train is so civilized.

We made it to Kingston in time for dinner, and then Matt, my sisters and I went to midnight mass. It's a family tradition for Matt and, since he's spent the last few Christmases at my mom's house as his family lives in another province, it's one that we've adopted. I'm not much of a religious person, but I have to admit that there's something really beautiful about midnight mass - the carols, the smell of incense, the candles, the rituals.

On the way home from midnight mass, we saw a coyote! It was quite red, so at first we thought it was a fox, but we later learned that a lot of the coyotes around here are part red wolf. It was so neat! One of the things that I love about my mom's place is that there's a lot of wildlife around - she lives near the edge of town, and we often see deer and foxes. In fact, the deer come right up to her back fence and she throws them carrots and apples in the wintertime.

Christmas day started with a tradition that my sisters and I have, which is to all pile on to one bed and open stockings together. After that we headed down to the living room and opened presents. I got a new wool coat that I wanted, a new bathrobe (I've had my old one for about six years, and I bought it when the Neptune Theatre held its annual costumes and props sale, so God knows how old it actually is), and some gift certificates to by office-y clothes for work. I also got some funny yoga-related stuff - a box of postcards with pictures of cats doing yoga poses on them, and a little statue of a frog in halasana.

I am happy to report that my mother's gift was a huge success - she loved it, and the clothes we got her fit perfectly. I ended up getting the gym bag from Roots - I was describing what I wanted to one of my former co-workers, and she said "oh yeah, that sounds like the tote we had in the summer - you know, I found one a drawer the other days, it's marked down to $19.98 now". It's perfect - it has straps on the front to attach your mat, and lots of pockets and stuff inside. I guess it was fate! For the mat, I got her the Halfmoon EcoYoga Mat, which is supposed to be "decomposable, recyclable and hypoallergenic".

I've convinced my mom to come with me to a gentle yoga class at a local studio, so I'm really hoping that she'll enjoy it. Keep your fingers crossed!

The rest of Christmas day was great. My sisters, Matt and I took a long walk, we came home and watched a movie (Star Trek - oh God, we're all so nerdy) and then had turkey time. I don't normally eat meat, but when I explained to my mom that one of my reasons for going veggie was that I couldn't know where meat came from, or how the animal was treated, she started buying a local, organic turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The first year she complained about the cost, but after trying it, she had to admit that it tasted better.

My sisters and I out for our Christmas walk (I'm the one on the right):


So that was my holiday - how was yours?


1 comment:

TINA VAUGHN said...

Sounds wonderful! I love that you have the stocking tradition with your sisters...your little moment in time. Nice.

My holiday was beautiful--I spent time with my children, baking all sorts of new recipes, playing games, talking, keeping them full of different varieties of hot chocolate (double chocolate with a homemade marshmallow and a peppermint stick for stirring was the fave :)

What I will remember most about this holiday was the time...not one gift stands above another, either given or received, but the time and the memories I will take with me and ideally, my children too.

We spent time with family from out of town, we spent Christmas Eve and Day with more family...I needed it so much.

Peace and love :)