I can tell you exactly when it happened: November 26, 2016, at 11:52:14 AM. (Says so right in the time stamp of the photo.)
It was a Saturday morning in downtown Courtenay on 5th St. at the world’s best bakery/chocolate store, Cakebread.
We had stopped in for a latte and a baguette, and got smacked upside the head with the Christmas spirit.
Full blown, just like that. Boom! Merry Christmas.
No idea what was on this wall before the this adorable 3D mural appeared, but now I can’t imagine anything else there.
Yes, many things were the same: the amazing olive oil sampling wall was still there…
… as were the lovely ladies waiting on the line up for artisan breads and monster sandwiches…
… and the generally talented buskers who are almost always somewhere on the block.
But there really was this penguin-induced “Joy to the World” vibe in the air that was even more delicious than the latte and warm classic palmier cookie we shared.
So that was the start of it.
This year we had enough time to slow things down and savor each element as its own Christmas treat.
Finding just the right place for each decoration was like seasoning our home with a wash of family, sweet memories, and an earnest prayer for Peace on Earth.
BTW, the Santas have now finally been tweaked into their final position in front of Rick’s painting, unless he’s been poking away at them again.
I even learned how to wrap a gift like a grown up, AND enjoy the process. (Tip: buy the wrapping paper that has the grid lines on the reverse side to help with planning how much paper you’ll need and how to cut in a straight line.)
A great Christmas playlist, some fun new (to us) music by The Good Lovelies, and a wrapping buddy helped make the season bright.
There was leisure to futz with the fiddly bits and plenty of bandwidth to luxuriate in ALL the smells.
We even took time for a puzzle or two along the way when the parcels were ready.
We spent more time out in our extended community this year as well, with a couple of nights in magical Victoria, window-shopping fabulous Ford St. after the sun went down.
There’s nothing like a train set running in a hobby store window at Christmas to whet the appetite for what might be under the tree.
Our nautical neighbors are enthusiastic about the season as well.
Even the unadorned trees, heavy still with fruit to keep the birds going through the winter, speak kindness and optimism into the expectant calm.
I don’t know from whence the winds of Christmas cheer blow, but this year, I know for sure where they landed: in our hearts. We’re so grateful for each other, our wonderful family and friends, this beautiful world, and of course, all of you.
Merry Christmas, and here’s hoping you have a Most Amazing New Year!