We’re home with my Dad in Toronto, staying as warm as possible. You know it’s a Canadian Christmas when:
Your friend wants the cold to be so bitter that her front lawn will freeze so the moving truck can pull right up to her front door.
Her sister is marrying on Boxing Day, but because they are Sikhs, it’s a three-day affair.
You eat the traditional French-Canadian Christmas meal of tourtiere, a meat pie, sort of hamburger in pastry. The cook, my old friend Marcia, is the grand-daughter of Nellie McClung, who is featured on the $50 bill for helping to win Canadian women the vote.
You try to prepare the turkey and — like so many in Canada — it keeps leaning to the left.
Your Dad buys the oysters for Christmas dinner unshucked. Talk about an ER visit waiting to happen. That’s what free healthcare will do — give you that delicious sense of abandon.
You buy Chinese food from a dive-y joint in a shady neighborhood, called Yummy Food, and it’s some of the best Chinese we’ve ever eaten anywhere.
You lie awake, barely able to sleep with anticipation. No, not Santa Claus — Boxing Day sales! The Canuck equivalent of Black Friday, but even more so, because there are many fewer stores and their profit margins typically higher than in the U.S. You think a hockey scrum is fierce? Hah!
You find out the secret to getting someone helpful when dealing with voicemail hell. When they ask if you want English or French, hit the button for “French” — because operators in Montreal speak English, but those in Bangalore don’t speak French.
You can re-stock the most essential of supplies: Big Turk, Crispy Crunch, Crunchie and all the Canadian candy bars unavailable south of the border.
Hoping your holiday is filled with warmth and fun.