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Monday, December 5, 2016

With the snow comes the spirit of Christmas

I know Environment Canada was forecasting just 2 to 4 centimetres when we went to bed Sunday night so waking up to more like 20 was probably a bit of a downer for many commuters. But waking up to a perfect blanket of freshly fallen snow is my very favourite part of this season. Especially when it was just grass and mud the day before.
The cows even seem to be enjoying the snow. They meandered single file behind their leader Big Betty and followed the tractor lane all the way to the back of the pasture. I realized later they were following the footprints of the deer hunters. Muzzle loader season started today. I’m told that’s sort of an old-fashioned style of gun that is allowed for this week of hunting. Orange jackets make such a picture against the white background, like a cardinal in the snow. You can tell I don’t have to drive far today, otherwise I would be a bit less appreciative of the wintry scene.
North Grenville is really starting to get into the Christmas spirit. On Friday night I was part of the judging panel for The Spirit of Christmas light competition in Oxford Mills. That involved bundling up and climbing onto a hay wagon to sit on a bale of hay. We wandered through the streets of the village and picked out our favourites. I love the swirling disco lights that are so popular this year but I’ve got to say – I’m a sucker for a barn with floodlights on it. Fresh greenery on window sills, lanterns and dashes of red ribbons for accent really spell out Christmas in the country for me.
Saturday we celebrated my granddaughter’s first birthday. She knows what sugar tastes like now. She also seems to be getting the gist of opening gifts. By the end of December she’s going to think this is what we do every weekend. Saturday evening we had two more parties to attend, with relatives. My 93-year-old grandmother just had her shoulder replaced but insisted she was still hosting her annual drop-in, and baked enough treats for about 100 people. We are lucky the snow held off at least until after we finished driving all over the National Capital Region.
As I drove in to town to the Kemptville Christmas Farmers’ Market on Sunday, it was impressive to see brown paper bags sitting at the end of so many driveways, ready for pickup by Salvation Army volunteers. The cans of food inside will go a long way to help feed local families over the winter. I know it seems like you are being asked to give to charity at every stop over the holidays but it’s such a hard time of year for so many – every little bit helps. I keep my change in my pockets this time of year so I have something to drop in the kettle every time I pass.
The North Grenville Municipal Centre was a bustling place Sunday afternoon as shoppers crowded in to see what farmers sell in the off-season. By shopping there you are supporting a local farmer or artisan, and you are getting something that is truly unique, handmade and special. I saw wood carvings, healing crystals, hand-knit scarves, mittens and sweaters and enough baked goods, jams and candy to fill your pantry and freezers until next spring.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to stop at my table and say hi. It’s always nice to meet the people who read this column every week. We will be at the municipal centre again this Sunday so if you still need to strike some items off your Christmas list, make a point of dropping by.
We also have some turkeys left so if you haven’t found one yet and you are starting to panic, contact me to pick one up for your Christmas dinner.
If you had time to stop and read this column during the pressure that we impose on ourselves this season, good for you. Remember to keep it simple, give the gift of time to the ones you love, and take lots of pictures. It is very easy to get caught up in the commercialism and think that you need to buy gifts to make the holidays special but that isn’t it at all. Christmas is time to gather together and breathe a collective thank you for all of our blessings.

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