Wednesday, December 2, 2020

We have entered the final act in this whimsical farce, the ramp-up to the inevitable end… or is it? Will we pull an M. Night on all of you and announce that we’re actually going to keep celebrating all the way through 2021? No, I can promise you that will not happen. In fact, I kind of want to punch myself in the face for even writing that sentence. We have made it through more than 2,000 celebrations in a year that has tested the patience and sanity of just about every human on the planet. I’ll take that win and ride into the proverbial sunset, thanks. Speaking of sunsets, here’s what we did prior to the one yesterday:

National Pie Day

To be perfectly fair, National Pie Day lands on January 23, and has done so since it was started by teacher Charlie Papazian in 1975. For some reason, which my research can only uncover to be ‘some reason’, there is also a flag for National Pie Day on December 1. I don’t see the need for two pie days, but then I don’t see the problem with having two pie days either. Pie is great.

We also celebrated Pie on March 14, better known as ‘Pi Day’. But let’s have a look at the more official National Pie Day from January. On that date we celebrated with a chocolate pecan pie from Sunterra Market, and I still remember it was fantastic. I suppose a celebration can be deemed a success if we can still remember it after a few hundred other dessert celebrations over the ensuing months.

Yesterday we defrosted something we’ve been waiting to enjoy for quite some time: a key lime pie from Da-De-O, made with real key limes from the Florida Keys, and packing such a gratifying punch of flavour it felt almost sinful. Come on, calendar – you want to throw another Pie Day at us this month? Because we’ll totally be on board.

National Day of Giving / Giving Tuesday

After a weekend of pouring one’s available funds into the tilt-o-whirl of modern capitalism, this is a day to remind us that December is also the season of giving, and if all we’re doing with our money is buying stuff for ourselves and others, we’re missing the point. The day’s official website offers a number of opportunities for folks to donate their money and their time where it’s needed.

Here’s something fun. We are all likely somewhat hesitant to head out and volunteer ourselves, given that the world (and Edmonton in particular) is currently over-run by this insidious virus. But the above website can also connect us with virtual volunteer opportunities, like grant writing, moderating a Facebook group for human rights, or serving on a board that only meets through virtual means. This is right up my alley: I have time to donate, but a deep aversion to leaving my house, unless it’s for groceries and/or doughnuts. I threw my name in to help out with a virtual volunteer scenario. I also took note of a few charities that could use some assistance this year.

If your time is short and you’ve got some money to donate, look at local charities and you’ll find a bevy of options to choose from. I recommend selecting carefully, as there are always scam charities trying to race to the bottom of the ladder of humanity. I’d also suggest looking into some arts-based charities. As a society we have been subsisting on streaming services and the few movies that have tumbled onto those services this year, while giving up completely on live music and live theatre. The people who make that type of art are struggling and could use any support they can get. We want there to be a viable arts community when all this is over.

So if you took some time to Black Friday it, to Small Business Saturday it, to Small Brewery Sunday it, or to Cyber Monday it, please take some time and/or money and Giving Tuesday it just a little. We all need to help each other out.

National Christmas Lights Day

When is it appropriate to flick on the Christmas lights and start truly celebrating the season? That depends on who you ask.

We’ll start with Costco. Goddammit, Costco. I’ve seen you start sprinkling the Christmas decoration displays in late July. That should be punishable with jail time. We are not ready for the holiday season when we are still in the midst of hammock season.

Some folks (and I’m looking at you, Linda Belcher) will string up their lights and get all Christmas-ish right after Halloween. This is too soon. Even this year, when we will happily forego our stuffiness and embrace the fact that people are desperate for the feel-goodery of the holiday season and doubly desperate to get this year the hell over with, November 1 is too soon. Others tend to pick November 12, which respectfully allows us to dedicate the early part of the month to remembering and honouring our veterans. For my judgmental frown, this is 100% acceptable in 2020.

I tend to believe the Christmas season should begin once Santa makes his way down 5th Avenue in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. That day is, after all, followed up by the biggest weekend in retail, and the definitive start to the shopping season. Alternately – and here’s where our research backs us up – December 1 is also an appropriate start. We don’t need to celebrate Christmas for more than a month. We have demonstrated clearly that there are well over 2,000 other things we can celebrate if we are that desperate for revelry.

We did not decorate yesterday, as Jodie is far too busy to tackle something like that on a weeknight, and I’m far too Jewish to do all that without her. But we began our preparations, which this year includes setting up our tree in our front room for the first time since we’ve moved to this house some 14 years ago. And our son decorated his apartment in festive cheer, the results of which are pictured above. Let the season begin, folks.

Just keep that insipid music away from me. There is no time, not even on the 25th, when I want to listen to Jingle Bell fucking Rock again.

National Eat A Red Apple Day

Jodie, happy to contribute to this journey of mayhem whenever her frantic schedule permits it, ate a red apple. There’s really not much to say here. That’s the point of the day. We nailed it.

Having blasted through our final frantic first-of-the-month, we will be grateful to see what comes next. December isn’t just about Santa and candles and Kwanza; we’ve also got this fun stuff:

  • National Package Protection Day. This can be interpreted a number of ways. Should I wear a jockstrap today?
  • National Fritters Day. The restaurant where we order our favourite fritters is closed today, but I’ll bookmark this one for the weekend.
  • National Mutt Day. A day to honour all great mixed-breed pooches out there.
  • Business Of Popping Corn Day. We have already celebrated popcorn… are we supposed to open a popcorn business today?
  • Choose Women Wednesday. Feminism ain’t dead, folks. The fight ain’t over. This sounds delightfully empowering.
  • Play Basketball Day. My only ball is deflated at the moment, but we still have a net up in the back yard.
  • Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting. This is Jodie’s favourite tree in the world every year. She will be celebrating this one.