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The Nelson family was getting more and more agitated as the clock crept up to 5 p.m. on Wednesday night. Are the lights on? Is the music playing loud enough?
Kelly Tolley was checking everything one last time, to make sure that the 15 hours she and her family put into building their Christmas float were well-invested.
It all came perfectly together for the gingerbread-themed float, right on time as the Christmas Parade hit the streets of Kanesatake.
More than half a dozen Christmas floats, along with decorated cars, drove around the community on Wednesday, December 16. Just like the rest of the world that is reinventing the holiday season this year due to the pandemic, the initiative was a first for the community. But certainly not the last.
The evening ended up being a feast for the eyes and a warm embrace to everyone’s hearts.
“The secret to Christmas is kindness,” said a mysterious Kanehsata’kehró:non, fully embracing his role as Santa Claus. “Being able to see everybody come together tonight and still respect our health, it’s a wonderful thing. We see people smiling and enjoying themselves during these difficult times.”
It might have been one of the coldest nights yet, but it didn’t keep Kanehsata’kehró:non from coming out, supporting and waving at the parade. Seven-year-old Marcelin Mohan couldn’t stay in place once the parade drove in front of his family’s driveway, with the biggest smile on his face shining through the night.
“It was amazing seeing Santa Claus,” said the youngster.
The parade was part of the Kanesatake Christmas Committee’s initiative to bring joy to the community during the holidays. The winner of the $500 first-place prize was announced later the following evening after the event.
The contest was made in the good spirit of the holiday and therefore, every participant was eligible to enter the draw and get the chance to win one of the three prizes.
With Christmas decorations becoming a rare commodity this year, some community members were left making the most with what they had. All warmed-up in her lightened car, Amanda Nelson laughed as she explained that the last-minute decorations were not exactly what she first had in mind.
Nonetheless, the result was festive. She managed to adorn her car with a set of colourful Christmas lights and wrapped it all with an iconic red bow.
“This is totally not what I wanted to do,” she said. “But everything was sold out when I went to the stores!”
Still, the simple joy of being outside with others warmed most of the participants.
“I think it’s wonderful especially with everything that’s going on this year, it’s bringing everybody together and joy, especially to the elders who are stuck at home,”said Nelson.
“Everybody is saying it’s cold here, but for me, it’s like the beach because, in the North Pole, it’s super cold,” said Santa Claus with his famous HO!HO!HO! chuckle.
Dear Santa, minus 20 is not what one would wish for or call the beach, but the parade definitely warmed up everyone’s mood that evening.