Thursday it snowed in Abbotsford. Significant, because it was our first dusting of snow in over a year.
Fitting, too, it seems, coming just before Christmas. And with temperatures predicted to hover around freezing for the next week or so, and more precipitation anticipated we might even end up with a white Christmas.

Which, somehow, seems to enrich the “Christmas spirit.” Even though the local culture tends to despise snow most of the time.

A short getaway to Jamaica last week put me into the midst of their prelude to Christmas. Evergreen trees were decked throughout the hotel complex (though evergreens are not native to Jamaica) and the background music throughout the complex was continuous Christmas carols.
Including: “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” and “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”
Now, I don’t think too many Jamaicans were hoping for a white Christmas. And I’m confident 100% of the foreigners at the hotel were much happier with the 30o weather than they would have been with 0o and snow.
But, for whatever reason, snow has become almost a worldwide symbol associated with Christmas. Associating the two together warms our hearts (excuse the pun).
But isn’t that part of what Christmas is all about: re-immersing ourselves annually into the symbols, settings and traditions of our family or tribe or religious or social sub-culture.
My family is not strongly tradition bound. We go our separate ways and do our own thing in the world, and encourage each to become what they aspire to. When I look around at friends and colleagues, I’d say we’re generally on the low end of tradition-guided behaviour.
Except at Christmas! Like pent-up energy, all sentimentalities seem to amass and charge at us with a vengeance come the planning for Christmas. Retaining the symbols and traditions of the event is of highest priority. [Now, I should clarify that Christmas is usually the only time of year that the whole family is together, my son coming home from the Boston area and my daughter from Oakland, to join those more proximate. So it is a once-a-year-only occasion, lending to its heightened celebratory status.]
Sure, there is gradual change, or the occasional exception. Like a few years back when we decided to do a “Secret Santa” (aka Christmas box draw) instead of everyone buying gifts for everyone. And one year, one of the family members missed coming home because he was overseas. But one or two small changes each year means even greater devotion to 73 (or is it 173?) remaining traditions.
Christmas and tradition are inextricably linked in our family.
And around the world.
Which is as it should be, I think. Regardless of the diverse paths our lives take us in, some grounding in the enduring symbols and traditions of our cultures helps to keep us guided and focused, and to lift our spirits! Christmas sentimentalities tend to become sacred wells of life-giving energy.
I can live off the energy of that sacred Christmas well for eleven months, then re-immerse myself into it in the joyful, one-month build-up to return of those refreshing sacred waters.
Even if there is no snow at Christmas.
Rent 2 Own tip
A recent study indicated that at least 50% of metro Vancouver residents are renters. This is at least double the Canadian average, and with rental rates soaring there because of near-zero vacancy rates, a rent-to-own option may be increasingly attractive. The Fraser Valley typically follows metro Vancouver trends; thus, it may be the perfect time to consider rent to own before soaring prices make ownership out of reach for half the population.
Quote of the Week:
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire. – Gustav Mahler