New Brunswick — People in New Brunswick are getting ready for the upcoming holiday season by finalizing their shopping lists, dusting off their old virtual fireplace DVDs, and preparing to turn on their outdoor Christmas lights, which have remained untouched since the previous year.
“I love this time of year,” says Moncton resident Courtney McKenzie, 25. “The atmosphere is magical — whether it’s sipping on a hot chocolate while watching the Santa Claus parade, or window-shopping downtown in the softly falling snow, or taking a walk around the neighbourhood to enjoy all the beautiful Christmas decorations that, during the rest of the year, make us collectively roll our eyes at lazy and neglectful homeowners who simply leave their lights stapled to their gutters all year round.”
David Connor, 48, recalls growing up in Fredericton and spending evenings in early December getting together with neighbours to prepare for the season.
“I grew up in a close-knit community,” he says. “It wasn’t unusual to get all the neighbourhood kids together and help each other put up cardboard cut-outs of reindeer and big plastic Santa Clauses and then get so tired and fed up of the whole process that we just collectively tell ourselves to forget everything and just leave it all up there until next year.”
Connor’s family album is filled with photos of his friends’ and neighbours’ homes during Christmas seasons long since passed. He flips through them wistfully, noting the slow decay of the larger decorations, crumbling as a result of exposure to everything from violent winter storms to the harsh summer sun.
“Those big freaking Santa things were heavy,” he adds.
Some younger New Brunswickers, however, have yet to be disenfranchised by the season’s stale traditions, and are still finding new things to get excited about.
For example, one massive Christmas display at a home in Irishtown has turned out to be a big draw for children, as families flock there during evenings to see the decorations, which include a giant inflatable Christmas pumpkin with a festive witch popping out and performing a traditional Christmas cackle, yuletide headstones with funny names like “Peek A. Boo,” and a loudspeaker that plays a constant loop of the Christmas classic “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.