The old red-bricked breweries were covered in shining Christmas lights and garlands. Makeshift shacks threw warmth on the crowded streets as vendors sold mulled wine, craft beers or organic honey. The smell of French fries, classic Canadian poutine, schnitzel and sausages melded almost too well with Christmas spices of cinnamon and cloves. Where are we? I wonder as we squeeze our way through dozens upon dozens of curious spectators. This is Toronto transformed into a Bavarian style Christmas market, the Historic Distillery District given a new face with Christmas cheer. It doesn’t feel like Toronto. But it doesn’t really feel like Christmas either—despite the best efforts of Santa’s singing elves.
As my boyfriend and I sat on the curve, behind those cute little shacks, spooning sort-of-good chili into our mouths, that distinct Christmas feeling never came. And it was something we noticed enough to comment upon.
“It’s hard to get excited this year, isn’t it?” I ask him, slipping my hand in his. He nods, his eyes lighting with enthusiastic agreement.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. All I’m feeling is the stress on my wallet this year.”
And I understood his point.
I can remember a time when I felt the anticipation of Christmas day. Every night we popped open another door on our Christmas calendar and ate our chocolate, and every morning we gleefully noted the pile of presents steadily growing under the tree. Was it the thought of toys that did it? Was it our belief in good ol’ Saint Nick? Whatever it was that got us joining carolers and baking Christmas sugar cookies didn’t do the trick this time around.
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