During this time of the year, there are many traditions I like to observe. Traditions can allow for a continuity of certain feelings at certain times.
Christmas is one of those times that takes me back to my childhood, as far as when certain traditions were given their impetus for me. When I was a small girl, I would go downtown during December, with my Babcia, and we would visit Simpson's and Eaton's. It was a big event, where we were both dressed in our Sunday best, including hat and gloves. We would take the street car from her house, which was a thrill all its own — as there were no street cars where I lived.
In those days, Simpson's and Eaton's were two massive department stores, that were across the street from one another on Queen street in downtown Toronto. My Babcia would price something in Eaton's, and inevitably, we would buy it in Simpson's. We would hold on to the rickety wooden escalator in Eaton's and climb up to the Toy Department - Mecca - to any child - and I was no different. Where to start? The line-up to see Santa Clause was forever, so opted to just dream about all the toys I wanted under my tree that year - Barbie, Operation, Kiddles, Kerplunk & Barrel of Monkeys.
We would cross the street and have a wander through Simpson's. The notions department for my Babcia, and the toy department again for me.We always stopped for lunch in the basement cafeteria, where we sat at stools at the counter, and where they had pieces of pie under the glass in front of you. It was so exciting and fun. I loved how I could just swing my feet, as I was too small to touch the foot rests. I was allowed a pot of tea, a habit, I've carried on to this day. My Babcia allowed me get a taste for tea at a young age, and it stuck.
No trip was complete without checking out the department store windows for Christmas. Some years had Santa and his elves working in his toyshop, some years were covered in tinsel and silver, after all, this was the age of Aquarius.
As my Babica got older, and wasn't up for the big Simpson's adventure, my Mom and I took up the charge. No longer did we hit the toy department, but the fashion department. Lunch was upgraded to the Arcadian court, and my feet were firmly placed under my seat now. Over time, Simpson's became The Bay, but still in the same Queen street location. Each December my Mom and I make the pilgrimage to The Bay Queen Street, to have a wander through the fashion department, note the decor section. Sadly, the Arcadian court was no longer a lunch option this year, as it was closed for renovations. There isn't even a toy department in the store any more, and we were too pooped to check out the Christmas windows this year.
Having said that, I still enjoyed my tradition of hitting Simpson's/The Bay Queen street this December, in the midst of all the Christmas madness. What would Christmas be, without a trip to the big Queen street department store. Ho ho ho!