How did Christmas creep up on me like that? Of course, Sue and I have been in the UK for the Opportunities Shows and a trip like that throws you off in many ways. Body clock for one, and the sense of the season too.
This article is written as a rough guide as to what to expect at this season in British Columbia.
Sadly political correctness has made it’s way to the west coast. Happy holidays tends to be the PC way to wish someone a Happy Christmas (oops – sorry). Actually there is something of a revolt going on – and we heard “Happy Christmas” a few times today.
I don’t know if there is a PC term for the lights that we put up around the outside of our houses. Probably. But displays of lights are very common. They vary from the tasteful white lights outlining the house, to the power grid threatening National Lampoon style excesses.
You also see inflatable Santa’s and snowmen in the front yard. Or, my favourite, the illuminated nodding reindeer. Very sophisticated. It says something about Canadians playful nature.
These are VERY important to Canadians. I bet that it is because Canada has a LOT of trees. Here in BC we have a lot, perhaps most of them. So a real tree is definitely the most popular choice for Canadians. I have even had clients in apartment buildings wanting to move because they are not allowed real trees in their building!
But it goes way beyond just choosing a real tree over an artificial one. You need to decide on what variety of tree you want. Noble Fir, Alpine Fir, Douglas, Blue Spruce? And should it be a wild one or cultivated? Really, Canadians care about these things.
You can spot the new Canadians in the tree lots. They are wandering around in a daze, overwhelmed by the choice. It is nearly as bad as the cereal aisle in the supermarket.
A useful tip on etiquette here. When you get invited to someone’s house for dinner or a party, you are expected to bring a gift for the hostess. This is also a big thing. Flower shops stay open late on Friday night so that people can pick up their flower arrangements before heading out to dinner.
Note also, while we are talking dinner, you might get invited to a pot luck dinner. In this case you are expected to bring a dish of food to share at the party. Your hostess will guide you as to what to bring. In this case you can skip the hostess gift, though they are always appreciated.
TIPPING THE BIN MEN
In the UK we always left a tip for the bin men (refuse operators). If not the bin got tipped instead.
Here we also leave a tips out. Two in our case as there is a separate collection for the garbage and the recycling. One year we forgot. No bins were tipped up. But we paid the next week.
I am not sure if tipping is common, but I have seen these guys working and they work really hard. The guy runs around emptying the bins. They work in all weathers, even on the rare times when we have snow on the ground. Kudos to them, they deserve $2. (Just kidding!)
OPERATION RED NOSE
This is a great idea. Nothing to do with red nose day. But instead it is a volunteer run operation to get drunks home. Three volunteers get you home in your own car. One drives it, one is the navigator and a third follows in their vehicle – otherwise you’d have to have them stay with you overnight!