Over the past 35 years, December has been, for me, a month of intense business and busyness. The intensity of activity in the shop is at once invigorating and exhausting, great fun and hard work. This is why we don't open for Boxing Day, and I am happy for that.
Being an assimilated Jew in Toronto means I have had an interesting and positive relationship with Christmas -- close family and friends know the story of how, many years ago, my father and I 'stole' a tree on Christmas Eve-- and have benefitted from inclusion in marvellous celebrations, food and kindness.
The mad rush to the end of the year has developed some lovely traditions: the staff dressing up on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. And when we close early on those two days, at 4 pm, I feel a tremendous sense of release and slowing down as the hustle and bustle are interrupted and a general quietude takes over, however briefly. This is my moment to reflect on the passage of time and hopes for the year ahead.
The change of pace makes time pass differently and allows for a refocusing on friends and family, on family traditions and connections. It is a time to look inwards to a smaller circle of our concentric lives; not to exclude, but to draw closer.