Cher Yukon,

Yes, it is that time of year again. I can’t believe I have been in Montréal almost four months.

Of course this festive season brings my heart to a place of reminiscing, more so this year as I am living where I lived as a child and many of my childhood memories are flooding my brain.

I remember how much fun it was to visit my Granny and Grandad. They lived on one of the avenues of Verdun. My Dad was raised in the very same flat that my grandparents lived their whole lives in, after they immigrated to Canada.

Because of the close proximity of these duplexes, four and nine plexes, the holiday decorations have always been colourful and densely packed, to say the least.

You have to realize that the front lawns are postage stamp size and only the bottom flat really has access to the space.

Occupants in the upstairs flats are left to decorate their balconies, doorways or railings. This creates a mismatched mélange of very uncoordinated holiday displays. The overall effect of this, however, is as beautiful as it is gaudy and outrageous!

Even as a child, I remember the thrill of seeing the Verdun avenues lit up.

Well, Christmas has exploded 12 doors down from us. On this 2X4 lawn there is a village of continuously inflated Christmas characters. The trees are adorned with lights and gigantic ornaments, the railing is aglow with colour and the window has a flashing spray of light design.

It is amazing.

Good thing that Hydro Quebec electricity is relatively inexpensive when compared with the energy costs in other parts of Canada.

When I gaze at this citified display of festivity, I also think about our years in the Yukon and how there are so many fantastic memories there as well.

I remember living in Dawson City and on a cold (-35º) Christmas Eve packing up the girls (Corey 8, Chelsea 2) and hauling them on our toboggan with the canvas sides to deliver presents to our friends.

I remember a year in Porter Creek when Corey, in all her 10-year-old genius, decorated the Christmas tree with panties (they were clean) and called out, “Look, Mom! It’s a panty tree!”

I remember the Christmas when we hung up stockings for our pet mice (we weren’t allowed a dog or a cat).

I remember the countless hours of travel by bus or plane to visit family in Nanaimo from either Dawson City or Whitehorse. I remember family, friends and the time of year when sharing and giving is something for which we strive.

This year, my brother and his girlfriend will have Christmas dinner with us. It has been a long time.

Christmas will be different and I must say, at this point, Jack Frost is letting us down in the snow department. We have had snow all right, but the beautiful blanket of white has turned into slush, slippery ice and rain. Hopefully by the time you get this, the ground will be a little bit white again. I’ve been checking the weather channel and I know you have snow … lucky!

So, my dear Yukon friends and family, I wish you the best of the season.

I miss you all.

Joyeux Noël!

Your friend,

Dale