A Penguin Tree

This year at the school where I work, the administration put up a Christmas tree. The tree was decorated by the children attending the school with ornaments of the school mascot: the penguin.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
A Penguin Tree. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

The decorations brought in were home-made, factory-made, and kitchen-made (a few decorated cookies were brought in). Over time the tree filled up and was admired by all who passed the office.

Yesterday was the last day of school before the break and the tree was denuded. The oranments were given back to the children and the office lost its festive air. The children were not worried as they still felt festive – wearing pyjamas to school does encourage excitement. 🙂

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
Pyjama day with my class. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

In the morning we attended the school Sing-Along and sang holiday songs in French. The day was relaxed as the class wrote their weekly spelling test and then spent time catching up their work. At the end of the day, they were eager to go home and prepare for the festivities during the holidays.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
A School Day in Pyjamas. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

The next two weeks will be spent relaxing at home (often in pyjamas!) with our families.

What are your plans for the next 2 weeks?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post is linked to Silver Threading where Colleen is linking up withChristmas trees around the world).

Advertisements

A White Christmas Tree

When I went to the teachers’ workshop on Tuesday, I saw a beautiful Christmas tree in the foyer. The white and silver decorations reminded me of my godfather who decorated his home like this for many years. I admired the tree and could not resist taking a picture of it.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
White and Silver Christmas tree. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

We are having unseasonably warm weather at the moment and the Christmas spirit does not seem to be flourishing. At least beautifully decorated trees such as this one reminds us that Christmas is around the corner.

Do you enjoy seeing Christmas trees decorated in white and silver?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post is linked to Silver Threading where Colleen is linking up with Christmas trees around the world). 

A Holiday Shop Window

I always enjoy the window decorations at our local cupcake shop. Currently they are featuring the Holidays along with their yummy bakes.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
A Holiday Shop Window. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

The window dressings entice a person to enter – and I have done so a few times. 🙂

Do you enjoy looking at window dressings?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

A Menorah and a Christmas Tree

On Friday when I entered the lobby of a building, I saw a sight I had not seen before: a menorah. This was the first time I had seen the symbol for the Festival of Lights in public even though there are many Jews in the city who celebrate Hannukkah.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
A Menorah. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

I like that in this space, the symbols for both the Jewish and the Christian December traditions are on display. I admired the Christmas tree as I walked past it, aware of the shining lights from the menorah:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
A Christmas tree. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Seeing the menorah made me wonder why we do not see more on display during this time of year.

Have you seen a menorah on display in a public space?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

On Christmas Day

Our home was silent when I awoke on Christmas day. I followed our tradition and silently carried the gifts from their hiding places to put under the tree. A weak light filtered through the windows when I opened the curtains, bringing in a little light as I settled down on the sofa to drink a cup of tea, read, and wait for the children to wake up.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Our Christmas tree on Christmas morning. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

At Mass the previous evening I had thought about the meaning of Christmas and what the day represents. I acknowledge that the day is a celebration of the birth of Christ but Christmas has come to mean more than this for me. It has come to mean family and, at this moment in my life, my family is represented by my husband and children.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Ripped Christmas paper. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The Christmas holiday is a time during which we cocoon ourselves from the world and spend quality time together. The day begins with the unwrapping of gifts chosen carefully for the recipient. Homemade gifts are treasured as they are made from the heart. Then it is time for brunch. One thing we love to do is eat and chat around the table. I thrive on the chatter, the laughs, and shared moments. I treasure this time as I know in the future the children will have their own small families to spend the day with.

And then … movie time. A few years ago, we began this tradition when we watched each and every episode of the animation series Avatar: the Last Airbender (my review can be read here). This year I organised the trilogy Santa Claus brought out by Disney. We had many afternoon laughs while we watched the first film.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
My Christmas Star. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Dinner had to be made and this I did after watching Tim Allen play Santa. Roast chicken is a favourite, as is fried rice. For a salad I made a simple green one with tomato. Unlike previous years, I tried not to make too much food. We still had many leftovers, however, to feed the family on the next day!

I enjoyed our day: the laughter, the camaraderie, and the relaxation. The playing of Christmas carols in the background while unwrapping gifts, cooking and eating was a happy reminder for me why we celebrate Christmas – and added to the contentment I felt on this day.

How did you spend your Christmas day?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This Christmas post was intended for the day after Christmas but, unfortunately, we were not connected to the internet for a few days.) 

Christmas Windows

On Sunday when we went to get a few things at Eaton Center, we took the opportunity to walk along the Christmas window displays that have been set up in the store front of The Hudson’s Bay. I enjoyed looking at the the elves preparing for Christmas and Santa’s midnight ride to deliver all the gifts to children all over the world. There were scenes of carollers and of people in their homes on Christmas Eve.

In the last window, we saw Santa sitting down for his Christmas meal after a hard night’s work taking the time to relax and celebrate until preparations begin for the next year.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Santa’s work is done. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

As we walked up Queen street to catch the streetcar, we came across a wooden box holding a Nativity scene. Amid all the Santas that abound in the city and the glittering Christmas trees that are seen in every store, this scene was a welcome sight to behold.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A Nativity Scene. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

To me, the Nativity scene symbolises the true reason why Christians celebrate Christmas. The birth of Christ was was the beginning of a series of events that led to the spiritual salvation of many. Christmas is a time to ponder on this and on the reasons why we remain Christians in a world that is focused on materialism.

Do you enjoy looking at the Christmas displays in store front windows?

walking-logo

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post is linked to Jo’s Monday Walk. Head on over to her blog to see where else you can walk this week.)

Floats at the Santa Parade

I have shared with you the marching bands, the costumes and the looks of the clowns at the 2014 Toronto Santa Parade. Many people, however, go to the parade to see the floats and that is what I will share with you today. Some of them I loved; and others I remembered seeing the last time I stood in the streets to watch the floats. Many appealed to the younger audience while others attracted the attention of sports’ fans.

The penultimate float was Mrs Claus – and then came Santa’s. The last float of the parade received many excited cheers from the children.

As Santa’s float passed by, people begun to leave their spots to go home. The parade was a pleasure to watch this year and was a wonderful start to the Christmas season.

Do you enjoy looking at the floats at the Santa Parade?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Previous posts on the 2014 Toronto Santa Parade

Reflections on the Santa Parade

Grateful for the Santa Parade

A Police Motorcade

Marching Bands at the Santa Parade

Costumes at the Santa Parade

Clowns at the Santa Parade

Clowns at the Santa Parade

The clowns at the Santa Parade are in a group of their own. They are certainly crowd pleasers and they cause many giggles among the younger audience. We watched a group for a bit while everyone was waiting for the parade to begin

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Clowns waiting to begin. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The costumes were colourful and eye-catching. My cousin noted that South Africa had influenced those who were carrying the vuvuzela. One would never have thought that those noise-makers from the 2010 soccer world cup would be featured in the Toronto Santa parade.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Noise-makers in hand. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The clown costumes were interspersed with the other costumes as they marched down the streets.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Walking as clowns. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Some clown costumes were more colourful than others:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Colourful clown costumes. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

These clowns were fun as they performed for the audience:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Clown costumes. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I liked especially the clowns that interacted with the audience – especially when they spoke with the young children.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Interacting with the audience. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

This clown’s face was not covered with make-up but her costume was certainly eye-catching:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Greeting the audience. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I loved these dustbin clowns. What characters!

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Dustbin clowns. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The clowns are an integral part of the parade as they provide comic relief while we wait for the marching bands and the floats.

Do you enjoy watching the antics of the clowns?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Previous posts on the 2014 Toronto Santa Parade

Reflections on the Santa Parade

Grateful for the Santa Parade

A Police Motorcade

Marching Bands at the Santa Parade

Costumes at the Santa Parade

Costumes at the Santa Parade

The costumes at the Santa Parade are fun, unique and colourful. As my stepson noted, they put many Halloween costumes to shame. It was difficult for me to choose my favourite. I loved these ones for the fun they portray:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Monkey Costumes at the Santa Parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I can imagine walking in them would be a little difficult though.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Monkey Costumes at the Santa Parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I am certain that these participants were nice and warm in their costume on this chilly day:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Dalmatian Costumes at the Santa Parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My daughter loved the rabbits holding their carrots 🙂

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Rabbit Costumes at the Santa Parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I found the dinosaurs to be cute.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Dinosaur Costumes at the Santa Parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I was wondering why these people were holding fire hydrants. I did not work out the significance.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Costumes at the Santa Parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The people dressed as bears looked warm as well – all of them were smiling at the crowds.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Bear Costumes at the Santa Parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Such a wide skirt! This woman was working hard to move her dress along.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Costumes at the Santa Parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I loved the Tim Hortons coffee cup 🙂

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Tim Hortons at the Santa Parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

What was great is that the cup danced along wowing the crowd. The audience loved it!

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Wowong the crowd. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Fruit costumes put in their appearance:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Fruit costumes at the Santa parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

As did beautiful flowers:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Flowers at the Santa Parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The butterflies looked friendly and smiled happily at the crowd.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Butterflies at the Santa parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I am sure all the little girls loved this costume:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Fairy costumes at the Santa parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

When we saw the Christmas trees, we knew that Santa was near.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Christmas trees at the Santa parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The costumes were a delight to see and are certainly an integral part of the parade.

Do you enjoy the costumes of a parade?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Previous posts on the 2014 Toronto Santa Parade

Reflections on the Santa Parade

Grateful for the Santa Parade

A Police Motorcade

Marching Bands at the Santa Parade

Marching Bands at the Santa Parade

My favourite part of the Santa Parade is always the sounds of the marching bands. I enjoy the music and the songs they play. I appreciate as well the variety of costumes and the effort the players make to come out in the cold and play for us. This year was no different – though I was eager to hear the band my daughter plays in. I took pictures of every marching band that passed in front of us. I will share with you, however, only those photos that I like the most.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Bagpipes. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The first marching band is always the one with the bagpipes. I enjoyed the sounds as the music echoed through the cool air. The sounds of the bagpipes helped to encourage the sense of anticipation we began to feel with the start of the parade.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Drummers. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Of course a marching band has its row of drummers and all the ones we saw that day took their task seriously.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Marching band at the Santa Parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I enjoyed seeing the band members march up towards us on the street. They looked so smart in their uniforms. The marching band in the next picture stood out in my photos as their costume was a contrast to the grey day.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Marching band. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

They walked by smartly and in sync.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Echoing sounds of a marching band. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I love the photo I managed to take of the tuber players as they walked in front of us.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Tuber players. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

As one band approached, we saw a flag that was familiar to us. Do you see it?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Marching by. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Yes, the South African flag was held high by members of a marching band who were holding the flags of many countries.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
The South African flag. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Not all marching bands had a uniform that was formal. This band came by sporting a uniform that did not reflect the uniforms of ages gone by.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Marching at the Santa Parade. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Though most bands did reflect the norm with hard hats, smart pants and a formal jacket.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Drummers in a marching band. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The dress of one band showed us who was near.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Marching for Santa. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I was saddened when the music ended and wished I could listen to more.

Do you enjoy listening to marching bands at parades?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Previous posts on the 2014 Toronto Santa Parade

Reflections on the Santa Parade

Grateful for the Santa Parade

A Police Motorcade