My Quebec trip last year was a spur-of-the-moment decision. It was hinged on the heavy snowfall warning with the mercury dropping to -15C. Based in Montreal for a 1-week getaway, Quebec was nearly 3 hours drive on snowy conditions. Being in the frigid-weather Montreal on the 1st week of December left us with little to do and not much to explore, thus the quick sidetrip.
One of the trip’s highlights was a stroll along Petit-Champlain neighbourhood. It’s a quaint village along the icy St Lawerence River. Along its narrow streets are local stores, business and shops that cater to both tourists and locals alike. In the photo below, store fronts are uniformly lined with lighted little evergreen trees; while rows of big snowflake ornaments hanging above the street.
The street definitely looks festive when I was there, but was it “Christmas-y”? After looking closely at Vancouver’s Christmas version, Christmas in these cities tastes like macchiato, which is like a cross between an espresso (to please the morning drinkers) and cappuccino (for late afternoon drinkers). It is a kaleidoscope of colours, an eye-candy for non-believers and a pious reminder for the devout of saviour’s birth.
That day, the air was exceptionally chilly for me, but no whisper of Christmas carols. It would have been delight, personally.
Maybe I’m looking for the Spirit of Christmas at the wrong place.
It’s not the well-decorated streets or the “Secret Santa” exchange gifting. These–to me–are expressions of that particular time of the year when we want to be near our loved ones, when we remember those who we should be thankful for, and also a time to share what others cannot have.