The Santa Conspiracy

People have lots of different opinions on what to tell children about the guy in the red suit.  I was having an in-depth conversation about Santa with my chiropractor the other day, while he was trying to form me into a pretzel. I think he had an advantage…if I disagreed he could snap me like a twig. He said his mother was quite upfront about Santa…there was no such thing and telling your children otherwise was a Great Big Lie!

I, on the other hand, like Santa. I still do. Santa is magical. Growing up, my mother’s answer when questioned about the validity of Santa was, “if you believe, he will come.”  Far be it from me to unbelieve myself out of a present. Today, Santa has remained a part of the tradition in our house with my children. At one point though, he was almost lost….

When my daughter was about 8 years old, she came home from school one snowy December with a big scowly face. “What’s wrong?” I inquired. “Is Santa real?” she asked with a defiant, let’s-get-to-the-bottom-of-this tone. “Hmmm…what do you think?” I responded. She said, “some of the kids from school said that Santa’s not real—that it’s the parents who do this.” “Really?” I said incredulously. I paused for a moment, deep in thought, “so, that would mean that all the parents in all the world would have to go out and secretly buy presents and wrap them and hide them. Then they would all get up on Christmas Eve and sneak downstairs to put them under the Christmas tree, fill stockings and then go back to bed?”

I could see the wheels turning in her little head while she processed this information. “Yah Mom!” she exclaimed, “that would never happen! Santa must be real!!”

So the mass parent conspiracy was more illogical to her than some guy who lives at the North Pole, travels in a magic sled with flying reindeer, and delivers presents to all the children in the world in one night!

She still believes. He still comes. And it’s still magic.

Mantra of the day:  Ho! Ho! Ho!


Very Canadian

November 20: I had a moment of feeling very Canadian today. I was heading to Canadian Tire to have my snow tires put on. Dressed in my sub-zero parka, Tim Horton’s tea in hand, I was negotiating the snow-covered and blindingly bright parking lot doing my very best and briskest penguin walk. I passed the live Christmas tree section, fenced off, just outside the store. I wondered who buys their live Christmas tree in the middle of November? When I arrived for my 8:30 a.m. check-in there were eight people ahead of me. Those who did not have appointments had the option of leaving their car overnight in hopes they may be able to squeeze them in, or make to an appointment…a minimum of 18 days in advance.

I wandered around to kill some time until the car was ready. The store was, of course, full of Christmas stuff. No surprise. It had been there before Halloween, but now had taken over the front half of the store. I made a mental note to plan to get my decorations up on a good weather day (promises of 10 degrees in the next few days). Otherwise I might have to face standing precariously on the ladder based in ice and snow, trying to attach Christmas lights to the eavestrough with my fingers quickly becoming popsicles. We have a “North Pole This Way” sign that we stick in the front lawn every year. Last year—with the winter that never ended—we weren’t able to pull it out of the frozen ground until the end of April! I’m sure my neighbours were thinking I was one of those people who leave their lights up all year round.

Besides the Christmas decorations, Canadian Tire really is the Canadian-est of stores. Space heaters, snow shovels, salt, lock de-icer, -40°C windshield washer fluid—all the things that contribute to surviving the Canadian winter. The hockey section, however, is to be revered. Rows upon rows of hockey equipment, front and centre. There are even instructions painted on the floor to guide you in picking out the perfect hockey stick based on your size, weight, shot and curve preference.

Two rows over, I saw a sparsely stocked shelf of boots (did I mention this was mid-November?) and was secretly pleased with myself with having the foresight to buy my son’s winter boots in September. I remember online catalogue shopping at Sears, while eating a burger on my deck on a beautiful September evening. How did I even think of doing this you may ask? Not hard to remember, since the Wish Book arrived just after Civic Holiday. So be Canadian: dress in layers, bundle up, get out there and embrace winter…just start early.

Mantra of the Day: Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! (okay…that’s enough!)

Critical Pizza Mass

One of the nice things about technology is, when you order something online it gives you a record that you can use to show them how badly they screwed up your order. Friday nights, I generally don’t feel like cooking (oh wait, that’s every night), so I ordered a pizza online. Forty minutes later our order shows up. The delivery guy hands me a pizza and a box of wings.  I say, “This isn’t for us. We ordered two pizzas.” He stares at the bill intently and says, “Perhaps there was a mix-up with your order.”

“Perhaps?” Continue reading

Fashion (No)Sense

I hate shopping. It’s not something I find relaxing or cathartic or most of all, fun. To me it is a necessary evil required only when I realize that the clothes in my closet have wafted into another time dimension. It’s usually prompted when I come downstairs in some outfit and my daughter will say something casual like, “Are those shoulder pads?”  Then I have to go to the M-A-L-L. I find it much easier now (and fewer returns) if I take my daughter with me. She has an innate gift for fashion and can pull a few things together and look like just she stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine. She did not get this gift from me.

AAAUUUUGGGHHH! The Mall! With a telescope I can almost see the entrance.

AAAUUUUGGGHHH! The Mall!   With a telescope I can almost see the entrance. We’ll need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs so we can find our way back.

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Cookin’ With Gas

I love summer. Not merely for the abandonment of winter coats, boots, gloves and, most importantly, panty hose, I love it because this is when barbecue season really abounds. I know that one can use a barbecue all year round, but who wants to stand out in the snow in boots and a parka cooking burgers? Winter is not for barbecuing, but for stews and casseroles and things that will add extra layers of warmth when one heads out into the Canadian winter.

The Canadian winter barbecue. Making the most of the snow.

The Canadian winter barbecue. Making the most of the snow.

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Dr. Donut

This summer is the summer of “Me.” The summer where I will consciously do more things that make me happy. Yes, that selfless mother thing was all an act. Now that my kids are old enough to feed themselves—and there’s Kraft Dinner in the cupboard—they are on their own.  Continue reading


I had decided I was going to do something fun this summer, so signed up for an “Introduction to Wine Appreciation” course at the LCBO. First class was Monday, July 8.  For those of you who were out in the Toronto evening rush hour, you would remember it—the Toronto monsoon.  Continue reading