Every Big Smoker likes Christmas somewhat,

Or we would if our Mayor would get off his butt.

Rob Ford must like Christmas, at least when it’s his,

And how he celebrates is frankly none of your biz.

But when a big storm came and took all our power,

It was time for Rob Ford to be Man of the Hour!

Should he call in the Army? Or is that too far?

Should he offer stranded travellers a ride in his car?

He could call out for help, hand out food and wares,

Or simply do ANYTHING to show that he cares.

Whatever the reason, his crack or a scandal,

This one storm proved simply more than he could handle.

So, tired of hearing us bitch, whine, and moan,

He looked us straight in the eye and said, “You’re on your own.”

On our own we were! And boy, did we shine,

With Hydro pros out fixing line after line.

Strangers offering their homes to those who are cold,

Looking out for the poor, the young and the old.

Emergency crews working tireless nights,

In whole neighbourhoods without any lights.

Forestry teams working ever so nimbly,

Every house lit with candles and warmed from the chimbly.

While glowering down from our great City Hall

Is our Mayor, whose heart is two sizes too small.

But the province is with us, urging us on,

The rest of the country is keeping us strong.

The world sends their love and support to our city,

Their condolences that our mayor is so shitty.

While we soldier on, though Christmas looks bleak,

And we may not have power for at least a week,

No ice storm, no outage, can dampen our spirit.

Our hope burns so bright, you can practically hear it!

For as much as our Mayor we love to insult,

Deep down even we know it isn’t his fault.

It’s winter in Canada, and one of the worst,

Ice breaking power lines and making pipes burst.

Nature has decided to just have her way

with all of us on this cold Christmas Day.

But with all of our worries, both those far and near,

Christmas is coming! Nay, Christmas is HERE!

It came without power, it came without heat,

It came without TV and freshly cooked meat.

It came while our Mayor lay useless and lame,

Christmas came to Toronto. It came just the same.

And wouldn’t it be nice if, at the very least,

Rob Ford put down the pipe and offered a feast?

He could tell us we’re awesome, even offer a toast,

And then he, HE HIMSELF, could carve up the roast!

I’m sure, wherever he is, Christmas came for him too,

And I wish him the best. No, really, I do.

Because Christmas doesn’t come from a store.

Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

Christmas is a time to give,

To love, to cherish, and to forgive.

Christmas Day is in our grip,

So long as we have drinks to sip.

Welcome Christmas, bring your light.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


Hanukkah Matata

I’m a night owl. This tends to lead me toward employment that allows for later hours, like when I worked in an indie video that stayed open well after dark. After renting someone their Tinto Brass DVD that they were watching “for the commentary on the decline of the European civilization,” I would follow up the transaction with a friendly “have a good night!” It became habit, and one I couldn’t shake, even during the occasional morning shift. On the phone or in person, I’d end a conversation with “have a good night,” and inevitably, some jackass would eventually correct me. “Night?” he’d say. “You’re a little backward, aren’t you? It’s not even noon yet!” A good laugh had by all at my expense, but fair enough- I mean, how stupid does someone have to be to wish someone a good night when it’s still light out? Clearly, the ridicule was well deserved.

I could never understand why they were so offended. Did they want to have a bad night? Sure night was several hours away, but I was just thinking ahead. It’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?


Deep thought.

One day, around this time of year, I was walking home past the Jewish Community Centre. There was a pair of gentlemen standing outside, wishing passers-by a happy Hanukkah. It was nice of them, to stand in the cold and offer complete strangers a warm smile. As I passed and they said the same to me, I returned the greeting right back to them, and I genuinely meant it. They asked if I was Jewish, and I told them I wasn’t, but that I hoped they had a lovely holiday. They wished me the same. All in all, it was a decidedly agreeable encounter.

And then, as I walked away, it hit me: I’d just become a casualty of the War on Christmas.

I mean, how dare these people push their heathen holiday on me? Why do they hate Christmas so? Why do they hate joy? Wishing a Christian a happy Hanukkah is almost as offensive as wishing someone a good night during the day!

So you see where I’m going with this.

Today is the final day of Hanukkah (which seemed to come early this year for those of us who don’t follow the Jewish calendar). Christmas is still a couple of weeks away, so we’ve avoided the overlap that sometimes occurs. This would indicate that perhaps we’d be spared the “Holiday Wars” for one year. Which would be a shame, seeing as it’s become tradition.

My message to those who believe that war is being waged on the chronologically questionable birthday of our Lord and Saviour: get over it. There are other faiths. There are other holidays. There are people out there who do not celebrate Christmas. Accept them. Forgive them. Extend to them a hand in friendship. It’s the Christian thing to do.

And for those who don’t celebrate Christmas…

Listen. I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to see everyone around you celebrate a joyous holiday and feel left out. It’s unfortunate that our culture is so Christmas-centric that it forgets that there are other faiths out there. But you have to understand, most of us were brought up in Christian households, with Christian families and Christian traditions. When we were kids, Christmas was it, it was the thing, and we weren’t really aware of Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Festivus. It’s not because we were willfully ignorant, it’s because we were kids. We didn’t know what mortgages or calculus or fellatio or Belgium were either. As we grow up, we become more culturally aware, but the expression “Merry Christmas” that we’ve heard from loved ones and classic films and greeting cards our whole life is a difficult habit to break. It’s what we know, and while we try to translate that into the multi-cultural world as we know it today, sometimes we slip. It’s not because we’re trying to convert you, or belittle your religion. Heck, most of us don’t even believe in Christ as the Son of God ourselves, and it’s well-known that most “Christmas” traditions are either Pagan in origin or merely winter-based. Sure, there are dickheads out there, the ones who believe in the War on Christmas, who might knowingly say “Merry Christmas” to a Muslim just to make a point or start a fight, but they are the exception. It’s the season for giving, so please, give us the benefit of the doubt.


If there really was a war on Christmas, we clearly wouldn't stand a chance.

The way I figure it, it’s cold enough out there for us to try to be warm to each other. Dear readers, I propose a new holiday trend: embrace the traditions of other cultures. Christians, place a menorah on your mantle this year. Jews, put up a Christmas tree. Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, Satanists, Scientologists, Rastafarians, and Atheists, I put this to you: candles and twinkly lights are pretty, cookies and latkes are delicious, and everybody likes presents, chocolate, money, and chocolate money. Let’s not make each other feel left out but invite each other in. If someone tells me to have a happy Hanukkah, I will not be offended by their failure to accurately gauge my religious stance, but instead feel welcomed into their holiday cheer. There is no reason for petty arguments over which holiday is the “right” one. After all, if we put them all together, it just means that the party will be that much more awesome.


Some things we can all agree are awesome.

Happy Holidays!