Friday, December 5, 2008

Canadian Traditions

Traditions are wonderful things. They create a sense of orderliness and predictability to one's life. For North Americans, it seems that holiday traditions are the most common and wide-spread.

Last night, I took Kate and a group of Aussies to see the Stuart McLean Christmas concert. The concert consists of Stuart McLean hosting musicians playing Stuart McLean's WebsiteChristmas-themed songs and Stuart reading stories he has written about a fictitious friend named Dave. Dave lives in a small town in rural Ontario, where he owns and operates a record shop called the Vinyl Cafe. The stories tell the humorous goings-on of Dave, his wife Morley, their kids, neighbors and other townsfolk that make up their lives. Ever since I first went to this event in 2002 with the pre-Veer gang, it has signified the start of the Christmas season for me, sure as playing "Welcome Christmas" first thing in the morning on December 1st.

As the lights dimmed on the sparsely furnished stage (a comfy-looking wing-backed chair, a side table, an old-fashioned table lamp, some microphones and a big screen showing 1950's style, winter-themed family photographs), two singers appeared in a spotlight and began singing a Huron Christmas carol a Capella. The show was mesmerizing right from the start. Stuart's funny, touching tales are engaging and give you a sense of familiarity with his characters right away. At the intermission, my Australian guests remarked that being there felt more like being in someone's living room than sitting in a twenty-five-hundred-person concert hall.

I loved being able to share the traditions that I've created. As Kate and I build out a life together, I realize that there will be some traditions that I will need to let go in order to create new ones - ones that we have built together. Times will change as the girls grow older and (soon) strike out on their own and not be present for day-to-day life, leaving further changes to be made to traditions. I'm glad that Kate has embraced and shared this experience and wants to make an annual night out at this show as part of our Canadian Christmas routine.

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