He's Heeeere!

If you’re from Toronto, you know what this weekend was. This weekend was the official start of the Christmas season, the weekend that Santa Claus came to town.

When I first came here, I wasn’t a fan of the Santa Claus Parade. I’d watch a bit on TV and not understand what all of the fuss was about. I saw it only through adult (European) eyes, with no childhood memories of magic - that float thing's kind of strange and the marching bands? I’m from Denmark. I have no frame of reference.

Then I moved to within easy walking distance of the parade route and went to check it out. The first year, I was non-impressed. The second I thought it was tacky and ridiculous, yet somehow started Christmas. By the third year, I’d started looking at people’s faces when Santa came into view and realized that this wasn’t just for children – although, seeing the kids' faces makes your heart grow three sizes, no matter how Grinchy you’re feeling. No, what made me connect all the way to the weird all-consuming enchantment of the parade was watching adults. People light up, the unguarded smiles spread across their faces and perfectly dignified grown-ups (including police officers) wave madly and shout for Santa. That’s pretty powerful.

These days, I’m a complete convert, although I do tend to not show up until the last hour or so - too many floats still bore me. I watch the crowd: the kids, the adults – who’s there with little ones and who came just to be part of it. I watch the paramedics wearing Santa hats, the smiles, the hot chocolate and start absorbing the excitement. By the time Santa gets there, I’m wide open and highly susceptible. And every year, when the float goes by where I sit and Santa shouts ‘Merry Christmas’ for what’s probably the 17,568th time in the past 3 hours, I wave back and shout ‘Merry Christmas’, too. It is a moment of perfect joy and the moment when Christmas arrives.

It started very seasonally on Friday with this:

Yes, that is snow. Actual fall-down-and-stay snow. Not a lot, but bonafide white stuff.

Luckily, things warmed up Saturday and Sunday was a lovely day for standing outside for hours.

This float’s for TinkPapa:

And here he is:

Feel free to wave and shout ‘Merry Christmas’ (or, if you’re at work, maybe just whisper it).

Liam and Morgan? See you there next year!