I hate people who celebrate Christmas too early. I would usually hesitate to use such a strong word in such a mild context, but no other adjective is strong enough to express my loathing. Christmas is the crown jewel in the holiday calendar and it shouldn’t be reduced and diluted by tinny speakers playing “Little Drummer Boy” on a loop or tinsel artfully scattered in storefront windows … in November.
But there’s one exception, one event so magical that I’m able to exclude it from the other utterly premature reminders of Christmas that fill me with such bile—Christmas in November.
Christmas in November (CiN), as the name so clearly implies, is celebrated each November. The inaugural CiN was held on Nov. 25 at Solin years ago. Fuelled by a visiting cousin with a credit card and a zest for both drinks and Christmas lights, the event went from humble beginnings to its humble current condition—dinner and a party, with plenty of Christmas decorations, no regard for the significance of the occasion, and the best in holiday food and drink. It’s a non-denominational, non-exclusively Christian Christmas, without the stress of buying presents for family, or the stress of family in general. For the many, many McGill students here who aren’t from Montreal, it’s an opportunity to share your Christmas cheer with your school friends.
But first and foremost, it’s an opportunity to deck your apartment’s halls in holly, garnish your potted plants with Christmas tree lights, dress up in your finest Christmas sweater-wear, and stuff yourself with food and drink.
CiN is a fairly fluid concept, so for me this year it fell on Saturday the 19th. To give you an idea of the possibilities, we do things potluck style with the host cooking a turkey (or vegetarian alternative). This year’s meal consisted of turkey, gravy, purple cabbage, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, with some homemade cider and a vat of 70-proof eggnog. Again, these aren’t rules to follow, but more an idea of the delicious things you can add to your own Christmases in November.
My food and drink listings alone should be reason enough to add this event to your calendar but if not, remember: it’s the Christmas lights, the Christmas food, the Christmas booziness, without the Christmas family drama, the Christmas shopper-packed malls, or the bitterly cold Montreal weather.
So this year or next, pick a weekend in November, gather up the people who make up your family away from home, and celebrate Christmas an extra time.