Good Morning — October 25th

It’s a snowy morning here in Bon Accord today.  The first snow happened on Sunday while I was away in Calgary at an Education Employees Conference, so I missed it.  Can’t say that I’m heart-broken.

Despite having grown up in the land known in other parts of the world as The Great White North I have never had a love of winter.  It is something to be endured as best as possible, always with the thought in mind that it won’t last forever.  The Great White North name tag was I think originally intended only for the North West Territories where it is pretty much covered in snow year round, but somehow it came to define all of Canada — rather unfairly, I think.  Winter is a large part of life in Canada — for us here in Alberta approximately half our year — but in other parts of the country it’s not as long, as cold or as depressing.   Alberta and the prairies are the hardest hit, most other areas experience the joy of winter for only about 4 months.  And the temps are usually not as severe as they can be here.  But, regardless of where you live, winter pretty much sucks.

So, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest. . .

We’ve got a week left in October.  Sigh.  The time has gone by so quickly.  Again.  Before I know it it’s going to be Christmas!  I am looking forward to seeing my grandkids in their costumes and going out trick or treating with them on Sunday night.  Yes, the shameless solicitation for candy — such a questionable, but fun activity.  I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween — I’m not into dressing up, not into kids getting stomach aches from overeating cheap candy, not into the temper tantrums that result from sugar overdoses, not into the senseless, petty rivalries that can develop over costumes, not into the sometimes mean-spirited pranks perpetrated on All Hallow’s Eve.  But, it is a tradition in our culture and to not participate singles you out as somewhat of a loon — so I’ve always participated, half-heartedly, and tried to keep my loonieness hidden.

Halloween has become a huge industry in our country.  In North America.  Next to Christmas and Valentine’s Day, it’s the next big retail sales event of the year.  Cards, costumes and candy.  Billions of dollars in sales.  There are industries devoted to Halloween decorations — the lights, decorations and music to go along with it.  And many people get right into it.  Much more than they get into Christmas.  In fact, I know of several people who like Halloween much more than they do Christmas.  It’s more fun they say.

I’m a Christmas girl myself.  I like the soft sentiments of Christmas, the giving and the spirit of generosity it evokes.  Christmas has its problems, I know.  It’s the holiday besmirched  with the highest rates of suicide and domestic violence, substance abuse and financial hardship, but. . .

. . .it’s also a holiday of hope.  Hope that all those negative things can be purged from our lives and that we can be reborn, that our lives can be everything we ever imagined them to be.  Halloween doesn’t offer that.  It offers only a brief escape from reality and encourages us to be selfish and over-indulgent.  Is that really all that terrible?  Given our lifestyles that are for the most part daily  exercises in self-indulgence and self-satisfaction.  I suppose not.  But that’s why I prefer Christmas.

Celebrating Christmas  makes me focus on others more than myself, makes me take stock of how I’m living my life, makes me take stock of what is important in my life and forces me to make important decisions and make changes that encourage putting the needs of others a little higher up on my list than they might otherwise be.   That all sounds very altruistic, and makes it sound like I’m a bit of a prude, and that is simply not the case.  I can be every bit as self-centered as everyone else.

I am not Sister Theresa, or Gandhi, or even the woman who runs the Food Bank in our small community.  I spend a lot of time complaining because I don’t have this or that, that I can’t afford to go on a tropical holiday every winter, that it’s going to be a while yet before I can replace the aged lino in my home with new hardwood flooring.  I get a bit annoyed every Friday when I don’t win the ‘big one’ — because I’m convinced that if I could only win all my wishes would come true and all my problems would be solved.

So. although I began this with a lament that time is skimming by too quickly and that the snow has arrived meaning winter is truly here, I am going to end on a positive note.  We’re well into what is considered the ‘holiday season’.  It began with Thanksgiving and will end with New Year.  Three months of over-indulgence in all aspects of our lives.  But, it can be good this over-indulgence as long as we keep it in perspective and try to ensure that others — especially those we love — are the beneficiaries of our spirit of giving and fun.  And that we don’t make ourselves crazy with trying keep up with the sometimes unrealistic expectations that all that over-indulgence can create.

Oops — guess that wasn’t as positive an ending as I’d planned.

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13 Comments

  1. Cindy said,

    October 25, 2010 at 7:47 am

    You’ve hit it spot on with keeping things in perspective.
    Halloween is a rather low-key event here, our suburb has a night picnic in the park, I will take photos.

    • klrs09 said,

      October 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm

      Hi Cindy, good to hear from you. I wasn’t sure you’d even have Halloween in S. Africa. I’d be very interested in seeing your pictures and hearing a little bit more about how you celebrate it. Also, Christmas. Is there a big difference in how Christmas is celebrated where you live? Will jump over to your site soon for a visit. Take care.

  2. souldipper said,

    October 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Thankfully, most parents on our little island encourage and organize a grand Halloween party, ending with the firemen doing a marvelous fireworks display.

    And Kath, I know what you mean about Canada’s reputation about snow. On this little island, we get a max of 4 weeks of snow. That’s intermittent – it seldom stays long. People decry our rains, but we get less rain than Vancouver or Victoria. The storm clouds are too busy building or dumping when they are over those two “exposed” cities.

    It’s refreshing when someone brings up a little deeper Christmas subject than shopping, gifts, partying, crazy family members and winter vacations. It reminds me to pause.

    • klrs09 said,

      October 25, 2010 at 5:29 pm

      Hi Amy. I would be soooo happy if all I got all winter was rain! It snowed here again most of the day. It’s sticking to the grass and roofs and vehicles but not the roads, so I guess that’s a blessing. I try not to let it get me down, but really, I hate winter. Seen from inside, with a hot coffee in one hand and a book in the other, it’s tolerable. I’m sure I’ve written that numerous times, but for me, it’s true. Your Halloween celebration sounds great — I wish we did something like that around here — but you know, it’s a rite of passage for kids to go knocking on doors asking for candy. And we tell them not to take candy from strangers any other time of the year! A mixed message if there ever was one. Take care and be ever so happy you don’t have snow and -6!

  3. October 25, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    I really like the imageI love how Halloween just brings out peoples imagination.

  4. halfp1nt said,

    October 30, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Thanks so much for the visit 🙂
    Halloween is not particularly celebrated in South Africa, although the golf estate in which my brother lives normally has a trick or treat evening for the kids, possibly due to the number of Embassy people living there.
    I must admit I don’t envy you the cold there, although it would be nice to experience a white Christmas (provided I had central heating and thermal undies!)

    • klrs09 said,

      November 1, 2010 at 10:00 pm

      Thanks for dropping by Half pint. I’ve always said that I’d like to experience Christmas without snow, but in my heart of hearts I don’t know if I’d really enjoy it. Plus there’s the fact that I’d have to be away from my son and his family and I think that would make me unbearably sad. (Those days are coming — I just prefer not to think about them.) Take care — and when it gets really cold I’ll think of you in S.A.

  5. October 30, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    We don’t really celebrate haloween here. the first october i moved into thos complex the two canadian children cane re\ound. i had one little packet of sweets and an apple, they had to choose from my hands behind my back.

    thnaks for the comments about teaching children. i think bureaucracy encourages “dumbing down” to a lower common denominator, rather than a pulling up to the highest level

    • klrs09 said,

      November 1, 2010 at 9:54 pm

      LOL — loved your halloween story! It gets a little nuts around here what with all the dressing up and going ‘begging’ for candy from door to door. It is fun, but I think we North Americans have gotten waaaay too carried away with the whole thing. Thanks for dropping in!

  6. adeeyoyo said,

    November 1, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Christmas can get out of hand sometimes. Thanks for the snapshot of life in your country. 🙂

    • klrs09 said,

      November 1, 2010 at 9:57 pm

      Thank you for visiting! Very much appreciated. Our stores are right now filled to the brim with Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Christmas foods, Christmas cards, wrapping paper and of course, Christmas fashions. This year I am endeavoring to have all my shopping done by December 1st so that I can avoid the malls and the incessant playing of cheezy Christmas songs. I love Christmas, but I love the at-home part of Christmas where I spend time with family and friends. Wish me luck with the shopping.

  7. granny1947 said,

    November 2, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Good Morning Klrs…Halloween was a source of guilt for me this year…a bunch of kids from our complex came and knocked on the door….all dressed up…I had forgotten all about it…not a bit of candy in the house!!!
    As for winter…we are so lucky…ours is also quite short and not too severe…no snow which is a bonus!

  8. granny1947 said,

    November 7, 2010 at 12:10 am

    You are not very talkative lately????


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