Posts Tagged ‘decorations’



The turkey has enough butter stuffed under the skin to make Nigella blush and the gluwein is simmering away on the stove. Our tree sparkles from the front room……

The trees lay stacked up on the side of the road bursting with the promise of Christmas. The Douglas Fir, White Pine, Scottish Pine and the Blue Spruce….the choice was endless. Which one would it be this year? We had driven along Highway 8 through the greenbelt along the escarpment. The vegetables stalls had given way to the sale of Christmas trees, no more pumpkins and asparagus but rows of fuzzy green. Much thought and effort goes into the right choice of Christmas tree here in Canada. Families deliberate over how tall it has to be, the shape and whether it will shed its leaves. We stop the car at a nearby diner to grab a coffee and notice a little boy as he gazes up at the tall frame of the chosen tree.
“Dad, this is the one!”

The excitement and wonder beams from his face. The practical dad contemplates how he will tie it onto the roof of the car. He paces out the length and works on his plan. Mother has a faraway look on her face as she recalls the Christmases past and is envisaging this tree with the family decorations. There were heirlooms that are brought out each year and a few new additions to add to the sparkle. My coffee steams as I make my way through the brisk air. I pull my hood over my head and feel the fur trim snug against my face. My thoughts go back to 3 young boys that gathered around our tree back in South Africa. It will be the turn of our grand children soon!

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree

The bare deciduous trees that shook off their leaves in the fall are tinged with snow. The evergreens cling onto the soft white powder like a cake does to frosting. The sun slips down behind the hills early as we wend our way back home. The snow illuminates our path and the houses twinkle with Christmas lights. Bright white lines the roofs, iridescent blue around the doorways and soft red sparkle in the shrubs. Fresh garlands accentuate   the wooden slatted porch and rustic White Birch reindeer guard the front door.

It is Yuletide in Canada and a time to make memories with family and friends. There will be a special place near our tree this year for those who are no longer with us. They will be  greatly missed.

I wish you all a joyous Christmas!

A white Christmas.....?

A white Christmas…..?


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The ego was still intacked here!

The ego was still intact here!

Christmas sparkle!

Christmas sparkle!


 My world is changing……      

The tinsel has lost some of its sparkle and there are baubles lying around the bottom of the Christmas tree. It is time to remove the wreaths from the staircase and to toss the tree out in the road for collection. There has been laughter, good food and friends and we have indulged in all that is Christmas.  So ‘after this Lord Mayor’s Show’ there certainly needs to be a clean up cart! This involves the unraveling and packing up of all things Christmas.Our second Christmas in Canada has been and gone…..

I know I have found you…….

  I begin by about sorting through the decorations and packing them into boxes. I always add a few to the collection each year. The camels from Dubai, the hand crafted angels from South Africa and the wooden raccoons from this Canadian Christmas. They all remind me of the Yuletides past. There are wreaths to unravel from the front door and all the Christmas lights around the house too. This ‘packing away ritual’ used to evoke pensive thoughts as I contemplated the end of the festivities. Instead, as I systemically place each shiny bauble back, I allow myself the time to indulge in the happy moments of the last few weeks. It is almost as if I have to put them ‘all to bed’ so that I can start the new chapter. All too quickly the New Year will be staring me in the face and I will get sucked into the hustle and bustle of every day life.

You never fade away……

The big snow dump has been part of this Christmas too and our surrounds have been transformed into a winter wonderland. Kids are out on their toboggans and young and old delight in the white covering.  Temperatures have dropped significantly and some brave souls even took part in the polar bear swim in the Ontario Lake! Definitely not my cup of tea! I landed up the other day next to the lake on my backside ‘met bene in die lug!’ The slippery snow got the better of me! It left me with a bruised ego and an aching rear end! So I have come to realize the merit of the ‘penguin walk.’ This unflattering geriatric gait allows you to tackle a slippery pathway with ease. Although I think I need to add some ski poles to the mix for added stability.

It will feel like Christmas all the time……

The boxes are packed and stored away for another year. But all is not lost! Christmas will have to linger in the Morkel household for a little while longer. It is just too cold to get up on the roof to remove all our Christmas lights. They are going to have to twinkle for a couple more weeks. At least they will let us down gently……….

The Joy of Christmas stays inside us …..






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Josh gets into Christmas mode.


Canadians know how to celebrate and have a wonderful sense of occasion! If it is not Thanksgiving, or Halloween then it is Christmas and my, do we have a lead up to all these occasions! We have attended the magical lighting of the village Christmas tree and watched the excitement on children’s faces with the Christmas parade with all its pomp and brass bands. The preparations go on for months on end but we are slowly realizing why this is so.


The Yuletide fever has hit our circle and our neighbours have braved the howling wind and icy weather to string twinkling lights from roof tops and trees. This is quite some feat as these snow-built roofs are steep and require much balance to attach lights and to hold on for dear life. It has even created a job opportunity for some brave and enterprising entrepreneurs who do this for a living. Some people just love adventure!


 We have a wonderful vista of twinkling cedar trees, adorned pots with crimson red velvet bows and even have the proverbial garden gnome except here it is a sparkling reindeer. I have never been partial to the gnome adornment but the reindeer I could definitely go for in a big way. My family was mortified when I announced over supper that I was going to place a whole family of reindeer on the front lawn. They prefer the understated look but I feel that if you are going doing this, it must be done BIG.


But it does not stop here; once you open the front door then the real spectacle begins. Each nook and cranny is lovingly decorated with bows and tinsel. There are fresh pine wreathes over the doorways, staircases dripping with long garlands and accent walls with scenes that have been imaginatively thought out. But the best is yet to come….. the fireplace. This is always the centre of every home and it requires lots of deliberation from the lady of the house. There has to be some presents strategically placed around just to add to the expectation, so Christmas stockings are a must along with the beautiful pine garlands.


But the real reason we celebrate Christmas is brought home to us when we stand in awe and marvel at the Christmas tree. The fragile lights, twinkling tinsel and hand picked adornments make us stop and stare. So on our first cold Christmas and along with the reindeer on the front lawn, we will celebrate our family, our friends and our new life here in Canada. But know there will also be biltong, droë wors and Roodeberg close at hand and thoughts of our loved ones celebrating in South Africa.


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