As you may or may not know, I’m back in my hometown of Fredericton, NB for the holidays. I’m here for two whole weeks! That is a lot of Fredericton.

The local paper, The Daily Gleaner, asked me if I would write a piece about my most funny Christmas memory. I originally had one written, but it was vetoed by my mother, under the threat of the fact that she lives here and I don’t. Fair point.

Instead I found another funny memory, more current. Even though the points of reference are Fredericton-specific, the message is true for most Canadian cities.

When I told my mom I was writing about a funny Christmas memory, she said, “Be nice.” With so few days until Christmas, and not willing to sacrifice any potential gifts, I’ll leave my family and our Christmas Eve tradition of “pick a church, any church” alone.
Instead, my memory is a more modern and technically-influenced one. I have yet to come up with a name for it yet, but it has to do with adding all your old friends, co-workers and peers to Facebook, following them year-round, occasionally writing on their wall, only to avoid them when you come home for the holidays.
The avoiding is, of course, not personal, but when you see your old friends, you usually realize there is a reason why they are old friends and acquaintances. Since I don’t live in Fredericton anymore, this Facebook-induced avoidance has become a regular Christmas tradition for me. It could be at the market or in the Tannery, and it has even happened in the Brookside Mall. Yes, the Brookside Mall.
Like many people, I travel home for the holidays and the avoiding of old friends extends further than this city’s municipal lines. For me, it typically starts in the Calgary airport, but most definitely in the Toronto airport.
The ways to avoid someone for no particular reason can be varied. There is the classic move of pretending you didn’t see them. But that is often too obvious and if you get caught, it is hard to explain yourself. However, new classic moves include looking down at your cellphone, turning around quickly (pretending you heard an interesting noise), and for the really daring, you can look right at them but still pretend not to see them. This is always great because, if they don’t say hi either, you don’t have to feel guilty.
And while no one will ever admit it, shouldn’t not feeling guilty about the bad things you might do, really be what Christmas is about? That and chocolate.

Mike Morrison