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Thank goodness, the night before Christmas

December 25th, 2008 · 9 Comments

I know some of you will sneak away to the computer sometime to get a little relief from an overdose of family togetherness, so here’s my Christmas card to you all.

How lovely to finally be at home after almost 12 straight hours of slogging through town (some of us didn’t have any groceries for Christmas Day or presents for significant others or, in fact, anything), in the snow and then slush and then snow again.

And even the forced march through the snow wasn’t so bad. You get to see Vancouver at its best and worst, as everyone braves Napoleon-invading-Russia weather conditions in order to do those oh-so-vital last-minute errands. I like that sense of bonding that seems to come out among those who venture out (even if it’s for silly things, like a bottle of brandy or a jigsaw puzzle) and the random strangers who stop to help people get their cars unstuck. (A special thanks to the Chinese man in the alley next to Solly’s on Main, who didn’t speak much English but knew a lot more about how to get traction in snow than I did.)

And then there’s the darker side. My last errand of the night was to pick up my son downtown. I thought the Downtown Eastside would be empty on a snowy Christmas Eve at 8:30, but there were small crowds in the usual spots — in front of the Grand Union, at Main and Hastings — mostly men, standing aimlessly staring out while the snow fell on them.  Even the worst weather in 40 years doesn’t change some realities in this city.

And now we’re home, with Arvo Part’s meditative music playing downstairs and It’s a Wonderful Life upstairs. (As a recent newspaper story I read pointed out, a very a propos movie to watch this season, with a plot that revolves around runs on banks, the evils of rampant capitalism, and the importance of holding together in bad times.)

Hope you’re all having an equally pleasant slower moment in your lives (even if you are reading this on your computer).

I’m hoping to use my week of between Christmas and New Year’s to respond to a couple of the interesting debates (and criticisms) about things I’ve posted recently, just to give you a little relief from all your novel- or trashy-magazine-reading during the holidays.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Ya just gotta love the holiday trashy magazine reading, though. I mean, at what other time of year would you, both, have the time to read that stuff and bother to enmesh yourself in that fluff? And heck, ya just gotta catch up on the year’s trashiest goings on.

    Off I go to curl up with said trashy rags.

    Thank you for all your hard work, Frances. Looking forward to your ruminations on the “debates”.

    Merry Christmas to you, and your constant and loyal readers.

  • Sarah Blyth

    Happy Holidays Frances! I am surprised you didn’t do a top 12 moments for 12th and Cambie? I guess that is a New Years thing?

  • Denis

    Hope you are having a good Christmas and gearing up for more of your great articles. Just think, Boxing Day sales tomorrow , over priced stuff available for those who do that sort of thing. But those same guys will be staring out at the passing folks who have some place to go. We must remember as well the kids, who are outside with a parent or two , or living in some dump, in the cold, as they have no where to go. Sad in this modern day but a reality down at the food bank.

    Am I donw on Christmas? Not really as long as the commercial side of things don’t overpower the good things.

  • tommi

    What’s wrong with the commercialization of Christmas? It’s the natural progression of a holiday based on fictional characters from a fictional world. A fairy tale. Religious leaders throughout history have commercialized their own holidays to win converts which equals cash (the church asks members to donate up to 20% of their personal annual earnings). The fairy tale about three wise men bringing gifts to the baby Jesus was the start of the commercialization of Christmas. Corporations took that concept and ran with it. Now Christmas is a month-long shopping spree!

    Let’s face it, we live in a spend-and-shop society where corporations rule and money is King. Our entire lives are commercialized, so, it’s not surprising that our holidays are no different.

    Bah Humbug!
    Merry Christmas.

  • Did you read about it in the NYT? A good article about the dark side of the movie:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/19/movies/19wond.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

    Merry Christmas, Frances. Please note time of posting: 1:18pm rather than 1:18am.

  • Coldwater

    Happy Holidays Frances. God bless us every one.

  • Wagamuffin

    I am going to add to the “It’s a Wonderful Life” debate. It’s a tie with Alister Sims “A Christmas Carol” as to which one gives me the best seasonal nudge back to hope that we all, as individuals, do have second (or third, or fourth) chance to make our world and the world of others, a better place.

    The lessons for me:

    Fame is fleeting, and ultimately, unimpotant, unless put to use for the common good.

    Money, in the quantities collected by the modern day “wealth building” set, are so obscenely out of proportion to reality (they are just paper, for God’s sake!!! ) as to make the term “value stock” an oxymoron as well as an obscenity. That some of these modern day Potters may actually see the inside of the pokey, is heartwarming to me.

    I have always wondered at our society. It’s not enough to be a good person. It’s not enough to try to “do the right thing” (do most people still even know what that is?). No, we have been (mis)lead to believe that those who are our bettrs are the ones who take home the most marbles—usually ours too, it seems.

    SO, in “keepin’ with the spirit of the season” I found this blog on IAWL:

    http://michaelhealey.blogspot.com/2007/01/its-wonderful-life.html

    And in closing, and in memory of my dad, “the richest man in town”, may all of you share yourselves during this ‘wonderful” season and throughout the rest of the year, too.

  • Bill Lee

    The real story about “It’s a wonderful life” is that through
    clerical mistakes it went out of copyright (not renewed) and
    so became a “free” movie. This accounts for its sudden revival
    in the mid-1970s.

    I see that the Seattle P-I goes on again about treatment of snow
    in that city.
    Linkname: City has to stop dragging feet in the snow
    URL: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/connelly/393670_joel26.html

  • Bill Lee

    Guess which of the 353 CD pieces of Arvo Part was playing
    http://www.arvopart.org

    Something that shows up on CBU’s “Earlier” programme with
    Lee Roseveer.