Your 12 Step Guide to Christmas, Canuck Style

There are a lot of (well ok, like, four) things that Canadians are known for: our long and harsh winters, loving hockey, being polite, and always achieving the perfect humble brag (see what I did there?).

But you know what we SHOULD be known for? Achieving the perfect Christmas. We are nearly guaranteed a Winter Wonderland, we are still happy to shout "Merry Christmas" at strangers without worrying about religious affiliations (not because they aren't varied, but because most of us are not that uptight about it, one way or the other), and we generally kinda like chatting with strangers and spreading the cheer wherever we go.

Also, we drink. A lot.

So basically what I'm saying here is, you want to experience a Canadian Christmas. And to help you do so successfully, I've compiled this simple guide to get you through. After all, if it's a success, there's a better chance you'll join us a second time, eh?

Step 1

Drive endless hours through snowy mountain passes and/or blowing blizzards to reach your family and friends. Because you wouldn't be Canadian (honourary or otherwise) if you didn't prove your love by risking your life on horrendous winter roads.

Step 2

Admire each others' Christmas decorations - and mean it. There is no such thing as too many or too gawdy when it comes to a Canadian Christmas, and it's awesome. Santas, polar bears, baby Jesus, and Swedish villages all have their place in a Canadian home over the holidays. T'is the season!

Step 3

Start eating on December 1st and do not stop until January 1st. Make yourself literally ill from overeating at least once - but aim for more.

Step 4

Get outside to "burn it off". That is, all the overeating. Because one or two hearty walks through the snow should do it. Right!?

Go even if it's minus a gazillion out. Remember toB bask in the glory that is Canada and remind yourself that winter (even if it lasts 8 months) isn't THAT bad. Heartily tell each other "this isn't so bad, it's quite nice actually!" to help each other make it through the remaining six months of winter.

Step 5

Buy a lot of gifts and stocking stuffers. But notB too many. We Canadians don't want to be known as those people. Really try to strike a balance between lame and extravagant, as perfectly demonstrated for you below ;-)

Santa came!

Step 6

Spend the entire month of December telling EVERY person you see, meet, or interact with on any level "Merry Christmas!". Family, friends, acquaintances, cashiers, gas station attendants, drive-thru workers, retail employees - I mean everyone.

Step 7

Buy a giant turkey that you'll never be able to consume in one sitting. Do not buck tradition (or gender norms!) on this one! It's a giant turkey, too big to eat, cooked by the woman of the house and carved by the man of the house. Full disclosure: I do not eat animals and fully condone bucking this particular tradition - BUT, it won't go over well with a lot of the other Canucks, so you do what you need to do ;-)

This should be the one (or main?) meal where you eat yourself to illness. Afterward, lay about on the floor, couch, stairs - really anywhere - and stretch that belly out until you can breathe again. Timing differs, but expect about an hour. Then, dive into dessert and do it again.

Step 8

Say "thank you" constantly and in a lot of different ways. Mean it.

Oh staaaahpppp.

Step 9

Use the "it's Christmas" excuse often and for everything. Examples include: "It's not yet noon, but I could use some booze. Baileys in coffee should do it. It's Christmas, after all!" or "I don't want your parents to think I drink too much, but it's Christmas!" or "I would normally never eat 6 cookies in one sitting, but it's Christmas!". You get the point. Unintended consequences may include being drunk and fat. But don't worry about it, it's Christmas!

Step 10

Play super competitive but still 'friendly' games of whatever you can get your hands on. Uno, Scrabble, What, Monopoly, Crib, Marbles - it doesn't matter. All that matters is proving your intellectual prowess to all those around you, then using 'smoothing things over' as an excuse to eat and drink together in further excess.

Step 11

Talk about playing hockey on the street or an outdoor rink or really anywhere. You don't actually have to do it - not to worry - you just need to behave as though you could be strapping on a pair of skates at any ol' time. This will make all the other Canadians around you feel contented and comfortable with you.

Anyone up for a quick game?

Step 12

Regret when it's over and real life starts again. Because, really, there's not a lot that can beat a Canadian Christmas. Now you'll just have to wait another year to repeat it.

Worth it

I'm so glad to occasionally take a break from the beaches to remind myself how fun it can be to have a white, wintery, friendly, polite, drunken Christmas :)

Merry Christmas, everyone! Let's go have a beer and play some ice hockey - I'll bring the cookies! Thanks for reading. See you out there on the roads!

PS. What are YOUR Christmas traditions?