Trying to capture the Christmas spirit of the thing

When it comes to Christmas, I’ve traditionally had a rule: I don’t think about it until after the Grey Cup.

For some people, they start thinking about Christmas in October. They’ll get the Christmas lights up early and buy the tree the moment it comes on sale.

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Some businesses will start promoting Christmas shopping in late October. Even before they have finished selling costumes, candy and other goodies for Halloween, they’ll be selling Christmas decorations and promoting gift-giving ideas.

In recent years, we’ve seen a push by many Canadians to not decorate their homes or start Christmas shopping until after Remembrance Day. Sounds like the way to go. But hey, I’m the guy who tries to avoid Christmas until after Grey Cup Sunday.

Sure, there are those little reminders for me that Christmas is coming. I’ll usually publish the first article for a Christmas-related event in early September. Most years it’s a preview story for the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation’s delightful Festival of Trees. I’ll buy Mandarin oranges for the first time in early November, feel the craving for egg nog in mid-November, and start to think about what I need for Christmas.

I put my Christmas lights up this past weekend, but that’s because it was nice out and it was my weekend off. And when I say “put my Christmas lights up,” I mean hanging them on the railing of my patio.

But I don’t watch Christmas movies or play Christmas music, or dwell on Christmas gifts or down that first rum and egg nog until after Grey Cup. With the CFL championship game taking place on Nov. 24 this year, that’s pretty good timing.

(Needless to say, I didn’t start watching Hallmark Christmas movies on Nov. 1. Then again, I won’t start watching Hallmark Christmas movies after Grey Cup).

Needless to say, I hope the CFL never plays its championship game a few weeks earlier. I would have to start thinking about Christmas earlier in the fall, or I would have to find a different milestone for when I start thinking about Christmas. 

But it was really hard to not be in the Christmas spirit after this past weekend with the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees.

One of the best things that we’ve done at Estevan Mercury Publications in recent years is to sponsor Santa’s Breakfast with the Bruins, which has become a Sunday morning staple at the festival.

It’s a fun, family-friendly event in which the kids get to give their Christmas wish lists to Santa Claus, enjoy a variety of games, crafts and other activities, interact with members of the Estevan Bruins, enjoy a pancake breakfast, and run around to burn off the calories from the pancake breakfast.

Associated with the event this year was Christmas Lane in the Affinity Place concourse, which offered more fun games and activities for kids, and more chances to interact with the Bruins.

How much fun was it? I was reading an illustrated Christmas book for kids.

It’s estimated that more than 2,000 kids went through Affinity Place that day. A little bit of Christmas spirit for them.

But it wasn’t just about breakfast.

Christmas in Whoville on Friday night was a chance for families to come together and watch How the Grinch that Stole Christmas. The one with Jim Carrey in it. And then there was a nice tea for senior’s and families on the Saturday morning.

The gala supper was a highlight of the weekend. The Christmas music played over the speakers at Affinity Place. The Christmas trees were all brightly decorated, and people could view them throughout the evening. One Christmas tree available through the raffle was adorned in Scratch and Win tickets. Now that’s my kind of decorations.

With the centre pieces and the photo booth and the hot chocolate bar and other aspects of the evening, there was no shortage of ways to get in the Christmas spirit, even if you’re like me and you’re not thinking about Christmas on Nov. 16.  

And the bonus is that all of the money goes towards the hospital foundation to purchase much-needed equipment to improve healthcare in the community.

Also on Saturday was the Estevan Kinettes Christmas Marketplace, which is a popular event for those looking to start or even finish their Christmas shopping, thanks to the wide variety of items available for the public to purchase.

In the coming weeks, there will be lots of events happening in Estevan that will be opportunities to get ready for Christmas, or to get into the Christmas spirit, through giving, shopping or singing. Many of them will be fun and upbeat occasions.

They’ll often be geared towards children and families. They might not be as elaborate as the Festival of Trees, and they might be not as packed as the Kinette Christmas Marketplace. But that doesn’t make them less significant or less deserving of your support.

For so many people, and for so many reasons, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

As for me, I’ll really be thinking Christmas in a couple of days, once the Grey Cup is finished.

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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