Yesterday was the Santa Parade in Toronto. I love this parade and remember the first time I went to see it in 2003. It was our first Christmas here in Toronto and, having never seen a Christmas Parade before, we set off early to feast our eyes. Every year we made the effort to take our girls and wait in the cold until Santa arrived – until they decided they did not want to go. This year, after many years of not attending, we made the journey again to brave the cold to watch the floats and the marching bands go by. I watched the young children, bundled up in their snowsuits, eagerly waiting for Santa to arrive. I saw the adults spending time together chatting while making sure their children were fed, warm and safely seated in their spots. People huddled together, making the hours spent in the cold one of family. Strangers chatted with one another and many pictures were snapped. One may ask what the Santa Parade has to to with the original meaning of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ. The floats are sponsored by those who aim at advertising; and the subjects of the floats are far removed from the religious significance of the holiday. The idea of a Father Christmas, and of a man who brings presents to children on a sleigh pulled by reindeer, is far removed from the birth of a child in a stable in Jerusalem. And yet, Santa (or Father Christmas) has become an integral part of Christianity. And the parade? When I look around, I see joy on people’s faces. Standing among the crowd I have a sense of community. I see family and friends spending time together. And surely this is the spirit of Christmas.
What do you think of the Santa Parade?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014