The long Christmas weekend

Today is the day after Christmas, Boxing Day, and St. Stephen’s Day (which is how it’s known here).  Like yesterday, it’s a holiday, and everything here is closed.

Here, for the second half of Christmas Eve, and then all of Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day, everything is really closed.  It isn’t like the US where there’s a 7-11 open on every corner, the Chinese food restaurants are open, and some of the Starbucks are even open in the morning.  Everything is closed.

For us, this posed a particular challenge, because hosting Christmas dinner (which we’re not accustomed to doing at all) when there isn’t a fallback plan of Chinese for dinner, and there isn’t the option of running down to the 24 hour store on the corner if you forgot something, is a little daunting.  It required a little more planning — we had to stock the house for 3 days for 6 people (since Dan’s parents are visiting) including the meals for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but we managed it.  We only forgot one thing, and it was non-essential.  We managed to keep everyone fed (and even overfed) for the entire long weekend.

And, I have to say, it’s kind of nice to have everything shut down.  There’s something really civilized about closing all the shops, the restaurants, everything, so that everyone can take the holiday to be with their family, friends, or whoever they choose to be with.  At home, we seem to be moving in the opposite direction — more shops open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day . . . and we’ve never had the 26th as a holiday at all.  Really, what is it that we have to do that is SO pressing that it can’t wait?  What ingredient for dinner is so essential that someone has to give up their holiday to provide it for us?

I was a little worried about not having anywhere to shop if we failed horribly at making dinner.  I was a little intimidated by the amount of grocery shopping the long weekend required ahead of time.  But, it was nice.  The whole city seemed to take the days, yesterday and today, to rest and to be merry.  Tomorrow, things will start bustling again, I’m sure, but the break has been quite pleasant.

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