tofino christmas - the weeks before xmas visit the photographer's website

Tofino Christmas: The weeks before XMas

by Beni, far from Tofino

the letter 'T'T'was the weeks before Christmas,
when all through the town

Not a person was rushing,
or showing a frown;

The wetsuits were hung
in a dry spot with care,
In hopes that good surf
soon would be there;

The small populace were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of tourists danced far away from their heads.


I would like--if I may--to take you on a strange journey.* To a small country that nobody has heard of, ever.

Where everyone speaks a funny language, with what I consider far too much unneccessary grammar in it.

And nestled comfortably in this tiny unknown country with the mysterious language with far too much unneccessary grammar, we find a small group of displaced visitors from a far-away unspecificed continent, participating in an ancient local ritual: A tribal gathering known as the Advent Market.

These simple folk in the mysterious land sit in the cold, sipping away at holiday beverages. Perhaps too much holiday beverage for that particular time of day, but what the heck, it's the holiday season.

'I love the Advent Market, everyone just sits back and eats and drinks till nightfall or till the morning comes.'
'Or till their boss calls and asks where they are.'
'That only happened once, twice... shush.'

'So - you like Christmas better here in this mysterious country, than back home in the unspecficied continent from whence we came?'

'Well yeah, were drinking outside, at noon, and nobody cares!'
'...Is that really what Christmas is all about?'

'Beats getting mauled by an angry shopper at the mall.'
'Is that what defines Christmas these days?'

'The market looks like it came straight out of a Christmas story too.'

'That is true, but is this really Christmas?'

'Of course not you silly old fool, but what more could we want? We're surrounded by holiday smells, sounds and cheer. But more importantly- we are together.'

The group of friends nodded wisely in agreement, and thusly proceeded to satisfy a chocolate-covered-waffle craving.

[*tip of the hat to Charles Gray]


I'm quite sure we can all agree that we love Christmas, or at the very least the idea that it sort of sometimes stands for. Togetherness, family, making someone giggle like a freaky schoolgirl when they see the present you got them.
But who actually really truly loves going to the Big City Down Island, or the Even Bigger City on the Mainland, to go Christmas shopping in December? Raise of hands now!
One... two... and a couple in the back... uh-huh. Thought so. You are definitely the exception, and quite possibly lying.
I love buying presents for people, I absolutely adore surprising people with some over-the-top holiday plot, and I can't get enough of seeing how happy the young ones get at this time of year.

But I really, truly, absolutely cannot stand the modern idea of Christmas shopping.

Walking into a shopping center anytime in the months leading up to Christmas is quite similar to volunteering for a long, delightful round of psychological warfare with a bit of random violence for dessert.

Rampaging parents, flash mobs… twenty-nine different versions of Jingle Bells being played in a loop…

Its enough to drive one absolutely insane... or possibly… to Tofino!

Tofino; where Jingle Bells can still be a fun song.
Tofino; where black-outs are more common than a neon Santa Claus.

Tofino; where someone with a love of old-fashioned holiday cheer can spread the joy without fighting their way through Toys'R'Them®.


Ahhh... I remember it like it was just a year ago, sitting on the beach with a big mug of hot chocolate. Watching the driftwood get thrown merrily at the shore with a thundering holiday crash.

The faint sound of bells ringing in the air. Possibly because the power is out again and some sump pump is desperately crying for help.

After that I'd take a stroll down the bike path towards town. Slipping and sliding on a layer of beautiful slush from the five minutes of snow we had the day before.

My nose red, and my snot frozen I'd fall into Beaches, or the Tofitian, depending on who had the ability to give me my hot-chocolate-fix at the time. Keep it coming guys!

Then I'd head over to Ryan's house, and generally interrupt whatever he was doing at the time, forcing him to join me in my journey towards town.

'Why are we going?', he would often ask. To which I would reply, 'I have no friggin' clue, but c'mon!'

So we'd continue past the botanical gardens, and up the slush covered slope. Towards that village that we all know too well...

Now -- I could continue, I really could...

But you know what would be better then coming along with me? Go for a stroll on the beach with your own friends, bring a hot mug of chocolate and remember that Christmas is not about the shiny spoils of frenzied combat at the mall...

Enjoy the season with a peaceful Tofino Christmas!

Living in a foreign land, Beni enjoys the Olde Country Christmas rituals (and the ancient liquor laws). Never giving in to homesickness, he secretly misses the peace & quiet of the village he grew up in.

Tofino Time Magazine December 2008

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Tofino Christmas poem: The weeks before Xmas, written by Beni Spieler, far from Tofino (or so i thought... can you believe the little imp managed to sneak up on me? All the way from Frankfurt in Germany? I mean on me! Seriously! Nobody ever, ever managed to do that! I'm soooo proud :-)

Well played! I couldn 't be more proud!! [ed]

tofino time december 2008