So, that is my excuse.
Of course this simple exercise pushes my thinking towards Christmas and all the traditions that define that time of year for my family.
We have a neighbour at the bottom of our hill that leaves his outdoor Christmas wreath up year-round. Now, mind you, it is rather awkward to reach and I am sure for this reason alone he just turns off the lighting feature and leaves the wreath in place. Of course if tradition holds true we all know that within a week or so we'll see the sparkling of Christmas lights peeking through his living room window to reveal to the outside world that, yes, indeed he has put up his tree.
And... of course ...we will all scoff at this premature display of holiday tradition.
In my family the discussion around the dinner table turns to Christmas about one minute after we find ourselves throwing the Halloween candy into the freezer.
We have a lot to discuss after all.
There is the annual Christmas party where friends gather over a selection of hors d'oeuvres, while children of all ages decorate miniature mock gingerbread houses and our friend Daniel entertains with his guitar. At evening's end the music takes a sharp turn and the dance floor opens up with everything from Drops of Jupiter to Al Green as our inspiration.
Then there is Sarah's birthday party on the 9th.
Every year we get dressed up and head out for a birthday dinner at the restaurant of her choice. For several years running Café du Monde has been the winner.
Once Sarah's birthday has passed we turn our attention to the tree. The tree in our house has been the subject of controversy through the years. Several years we jumped in the car and headed down to the local garage to choose our tree. The price was steep but the tree was full.
Andrew was happy. And so was Alex.
And, perhaps.....so was Sarah?
The last few years we have headed into the bush with friends in search of a tree that was worthy to adorn but at the same time considered to be suffering the life of an outcast amongst its neighbours in the forest.
Hmmm.... I wonder?
I am sure Charlie Brown would have been proud....don't you think?
Once the tree is up we fill the rest of our days with minor events that carry us forward in the spirit of Christmas. And although minor by comparison they are still rich in spirit and continue to pull us together as a family.
You see, when your family live far away you discover the importance of your extended family or as one of my dear friends likes to say, your clan.
So, on it goes...
We will skate on the pond. Pretend to play hockey!
At some point we will head into Vieux Québec and walk with the masses through the narrow streets admiring the decorations. Surely we will stop at a favourite haunt for les frites allumettes and a glass of wine.
When I reflect on the traditions that have taken hold through choice or simply habit over the course of the years, I come away with a great sense of happiness!
I was going to write, joy, but it seemed too cliché!
Then of course my mother's name is Joy and possibly somehow she is responsible for all this Christmas madness?
So, finally, I will also admit that I am a sucker... or perhaps a sap... for all this Christmas hype.
I have a feeling that I have inflicted my children somewhat and that there is a good chance they will carry forward some of the glorious banality that defines this time of year for us.
44 days to Christmas!
No, I am not counting.
But damn, I better set aside a weekend
.....for building those Christmas houses
..... early baking
.... collecting recipes
And maybe tonight I will take a walk with Andrew and stop on the road to see if our neighbour has dared to do the unthinkable and put up that tree.