Millar Time:

Illuminate the Dark

Good morning neighbours, passersby, and fellow residents of Prince Rupert on this sunny, fresh morn in late November. Yes, November. An advisory warning on this opinion piece is being issued now. It may shock some readers. For those of you that know me, the reaction may be more of just an eye-roll and a groan. For those of you that truly love me, I know you have my back and have my marshmallowed hot chocolate in hand.

I am THAT person. I stand tall and wave with pride that I am THAT person who advocates for and actions the release from boxed or coiled captivity the coloured Christmas lights.

I believe in Christmas Spirit. I know it is far more than the rum you put in your eggnog to get through the season. Christmas usually starts early in our house. For the past 20 years, our family has planned well in advance a day of festive togetherness on the second to last Saturday in November. Every year, an adventure is created with the Millar Family Christmas Tree Cutting — like the year Aaron fell off the hay wagon on the ride into the woods. Under the harmonic voices singing yuletide melodies, no one noticed the seven-year-old flailing through waist-high snow or heard him bellowing at the top of his lungs trying to catch up to the wagon that was leaving him behind as a spot in the distance, or the year in freezing Ontario rain that we got lost on the backroads and literally became stuck on an ice road — thankfully to be saved by a farmer passing by on a tractor.

Each year I am determined to attend the tree farm or the woods early, because if I am not the first one standing at the garlanded gates of Christmas heaven I believe there will be no ‘good’ trees left.

On the morning of the annual day, I jump out of bed with a smile on my face and spring in my step to rouse the rabbles trying to feign invisibility as I rip off their bed covers. I share my childish enthusiasm amongst their groans and to my horror sometimes not too pleasant words about the early morning rise and my abundance of joviality.

I am emboldened to shout out from my front balcony that this year I had my Christmas wreath waiting inside out of respect, to be hung up the day after Remembrance Day. It now adorns my front door with ribbons and bells to spread a virus of cheer.

Today is Christmas light day in our house. The sun is shining and the air is crisp but not too cold for the hands that will hang the lights. Admittedly light day has come late again for the second year. With the absence of the main family member who used to loving swear and cuss at my demanding precision to place the illuminations ‘just so’, the burn of the bulbs is dimmer this year. But alas, Christmas Spirit shall go on and light shall shine in the night.

With the dark days of COVID and winter nights starting around 4 p.m. I shout out to you fellow citizens hang up your lights, plug in the cord, and brighten up the night — even if it is November. Studies show that early Christmas Spirit is a sign of happiness. So, don’t wait until a week before Christmas to flick the switch. Share some spirit and bring some cheer. Don’t just illuminate the darkness now, but be THAT other person that I also admit to being — leave them up and on spreading colourful bliss until March.


K-J Millar | Journalist
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– Kimberley Millar, The Northern View