A restful Christmas scene by Hunter Daniels, of Eliza Archie Memorial School.

A restful Christmas scene by Hunter Daniels, of Eliza Archie Memorial School.

Christmas in Edmonton, with all the boys at home

Patrick Davies column

I’m going home for Christmas.

I can see for myself how tall my brothers Zach, Eddie and Danny have grown. I can hike with my mom. And I will no doubt debate the finer points of why I’m a “liberal communist” with my dad – all in good fun.

It’s going to be a big change from my 2020 Christmas when I had to celebrate Christmas virtually, away from my family. It was disheartening at times. But it wasn’t without humour.

When it became clear last November that I couldn’t fly home, I had to improvise. I had already ordered presents for my brothers – to be delivered to their door – but I was without my stocking or a Christmas tree. While my mom mailed me my stocking and presents, decorating my bachelor pad was up to me.

I procured a Christmas tree from the Free Press office. The office was closed anyway so I was given the green light from my publisher to borrow it for the holidays. So I had my tree and stocking, now I just needed some decorations.

Save-On-Foods to the rescue. I got a wooden reindeer and a decorative Christmas tree made out of jingle bells. While far from the most impressive decorations, they brought an air of holiday spirit to my home.

On Christmas Day, my family did their best to involve me in their celebrations. I zoomed in on FaceTime for the present opening, attended Christmas mass via YouTube and took several calls from my grandparents, friends and other loved ones from across the country.

A lack of coordination on my part, however, meant I had to settle on eating Pizza Pops for Christmas Dinner while my family enjoyed a home-cooked meal. It was a lesson in time management for me and a source of entertainment for my brothers.

But surprisingly, I did enjoy my Christmas alone. While it was often melancholy, technology ensured I was able to connect with those I loved. And as the months passed I kept my office’s Christmas tree in my home, much to my dad’s amusement.

This year, though, I’m looking forward to sledding with my brothers, attending Christmas parties with my friends and helping my mom make Christmas supper. I’ve realized there are some things we can’t do virtually – and those will be the activities I cherish the most.

Merry Christmas!


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