The tree, the Nativity scene, the gifts piled up to the ceiling …
Aren’t these the first Christmas traditions that come to mind?
Then there’s the MacIsaac household. It wasn’t all that different from any Canadian home at Yuletide.
Obnoxious Santas, elves, angels, the Three Wise Men … all the wonderful confusion of childhood fantasy and Catholic conscience.
And hockey on the TV.
Yep, that’s right. Back when Eric Lindros was Jesus, not Sidney Crosby. Remember?
We would huddle around the floor-model tube TV, the same set which still sits in our living room and casts a greenish hue, and watch the World Junior Hockey Championship.
There wouldn’t be much said, there never was. Dad didn’t like chatter while he watched the game.
Nonetheless, it was a tradition.
All four of us faithfully carry it on each Christmas, I believe. We’re all big hockey fans.
It’s indelibly stamped on my life since I became immersed in the major junior world during my seven years on the WHL beat in Kamloops.
This year, however, I’m going to miss most of it.
The tourney kicks off Boxing Day with the match that’s always one of the best of the round-robin, Canada vs. Russia.
That one, I’ll catch.
But the next day, I leave the country for seven days.
Oh sure, for a few days, I’ll still be in WHL country, hanging out in the land of the Spokane Chiefs.
I don’t yet know, though, if it’s broadcast on TV the same way TSN smothers us with WJHC coverage.
And hockey isn’t exactly the first thing you see on the TVs when you walk in the bar.
Plus, I’ve already promised myself I won’t be connected during my vacation … no laptop, no Twitter, no Facebook, no RSS feeds …
I’ll be north of the 49th again on January 3, probably too late for either of the semifinal games but you can be damn sure I’ll be planted somewhere serving cold Molson beer for the Wednesday medal games.