Essence of pragmatism

Posted on November 19th, 2009 20 great comments. Room for one more!

I like Christmas, I really do.

I’m always a little surprised to hear someone say that they don’t. To me, the dislike inevitably always boils down to poor management, doesn’t matter the back story.

What do you see when you look at the following picture?

christmas, decorations, seasonal, downtown, urban, business, toronto, city, life

Do you see a brightly decorated foyer with a festively blue wreath above the door, or is that a translucently hot sun about to go supernova and tear you and your family limb from limb? I’m going to suggest that both are possible depending on how you look at it. This can either be the prelude to an idyllic Christmas, or it can the foreshadowing of utter bloody terror. What’s the difference? I believe the answer is expectations.

In the first scenario, the only expectation is that you’ll be home, happy with your family, and hopefully you’ll get to enjoy some relaxing time off and a couple of good meals. Pretty simple, easy to fulfill. In the next scenario, well, I don’t have enough space here for the lists, recipes, schedules, budgets, planning, planning, and more planning that needs to takes place. And that show really needs to hit the road ASAP if it’s going to get some traction by December.

The first scenario has fairly low expectations. The second’s are in the stratosphere. So the trick is to simply bring those expectations down. Manage them.

Part of that is letting everyone know you want to keep it as simple as possible this year:

tree, business distrct, td centre, toronto-dominion centre, christmas, decorations, seasonal, downtown, urban, business, toronto, city, life

Take a page from the people in the business district, they didn’t dick around. “Throw a string of shit on that tree and let’s get the fuck outta here, we’ve got money to make”, is most probably how it went down. The essence of pragmatism.

But the idea is to take a page and not the whole book, because otherwise you start getting stuff like this:

td centre, toronto dominion centre, business district, christmas, decorations, seasonal, downtown, urban, business, toronto, city, life

Okay, it’s certainly better than barf on the windows, but it seems a little cold. Guess I’m more of a traditional Christmas kinda guy; gimme a fireplace, a mug full of booze, and a comely lass on the knee. Trees are also nice. I probably wouldn’t choose to put giant, blood-red impalement pyramids in the entrance to my place. I think it gives off the wrong message.

td centre, toronto dominion centre, business district, christmas, decorations, seasonal, downtown, urban, business, toronto, city, life

Bay Street sure likes it’s Christmas angular and abstract. But that’s okay, I don’t expect any more than that.

I did, however, expect the Eaton Centre’s decorations to be a little more involved. On Thursday evening they jammed the mall to unveil the Swarovski Crystal Tree so I had to delay getting a good look at it. Either that or elbow kids in wheelchairs to get to the front of the crowd during the ceremony. That didn’t seem very Christmasy. But today I got to sip an apple-carrot juice in peace and stare at a whole bunch of crystal hanging on a tree, hardly having to put any elbows into kids’ faces:

swarovski, crystal wish tree, glass, eaton centre, christmas, decorations, seasonal, downtown, urban, business, toronto, city, life

Something like this should’ve gone into Yonge-Dundas Square. It’s big, it’s loud; it’s a man’s tree. Even with all the glitter on it. If it means having armed guards around if it goes outside, so be it. That’s the price of fame.

But back to the Christmas and expectations thing, the Eaton Centre met mine well enough with the tree. But I also know that they hang a bunch of stuff from the rafters that’s usually pretty busy and fun to look at:

shoppers, eaton centre, christmas, decorations, seasonal, downtown, urban, business, toronto, city, life

The more I look at that, the more I become convinced it’s a Christmas tree blasting off into deep space. That I didn’t expect. There’s also an unexpected scenario happening at the north end of the mall:

sleigh, reindeer, gifts, shoppers, eaton centre, christmas, decorations, seasonal, downtown, urban, business, toronto, city, life

It’s difficult to see, but that sleigh has no passenger. The reindeer are in full gallop, dashing towards the stars (on a collision course with the tree!), and Santa’s plummeting down head-first somewhere in the background. In my mind. Also not expected, and quite an amusing tableau.

Expectations, managed.

smug, the worst kind of reindeer.

20 Comments on “ Essence of pragmatism ”

  • Emm
    November 21st, 2009 3:44 am

    Oh, I love those modern Xmas trees and decorations! I must go to Toronto one day – it seems wonderfully modern and cosmopolitan.


    Read more from Emm at: http://missus-emm.blogspot.com/
  • Patrick
    November 23rd, 2009 3:18 pm

    Toronto is fairly modern, Emm, but there's also a good chunk of history mixed into it. Kinda like a well laid-out 200-year-old European city (old buildings, cathedrals, etc.) melded with a bunch of really cool modern stuff. Tres chic.


  • Stanya
    November 21st, 2009 8:14 am

    Those modern Xmas trees are creating scary guestions, didn't the "V" arrived into Toronto? Not realy nice thought.


    Read more from Stanya at:
  • Patrick
    November 23rd, 2009 3:15 pm

    They sure did, Stanya! But I suspect that lizard creatures wouldn't be interested in Christmas, that's the role of the revolution.


  • Random Blogger
    November 21st, 2009 2:30 pm

    Wow, the Eaton Center looks better in your pictures than real life! I think I'll go down and take some pictures of the Christmas tree as well.


    Read more from Random Blogger at: http://www.stockr.net/wp/
  • Patrick
    November 23rd, 2009 3:14 pm

    Haha! Well, Random Blogger, wide-angle lenses tend to make anything look interesting. They're the deep-frying of the photography world in the sense that deep-frying makes anything tastes good. As always, the blame lies entirely with my photo aparatus :D


  • Grace
    November 21st, 2009 2:41 pm

    I'm not overly fond of Christmas…what has it to do with poor management? It's the greedy, money-grubbing, phony, false-sentiment time of the year – pah!

    Oooh, pretty lights!


    Read more from Grace at:
  • Patrick
    November 23rd, 2009 3:13 pm

    Of I couldn't agree with you more there, Grace. Ain't much left about it that's pretty. But the stuff above is still free and until they start pushing us into stores with cattle prods (next year maybe?), we can still exercise some restraint. And just let everyone know not to expect anything outrageous from you this year (or anything at all?). Manage their expectations :)


  • The Mind of a Mom
    November 21st, 2009 3:51 pm

    Those pictures are just beautiful! I love Christmas. I love everything about it! The music, the colours, the lights, seeing the little kids at the mall going to visit Santa. It breaks my heart that the meaning is so lost and that so many people are fighting to change the name of the most holiest day for many of us. Your pics made me decided I need to grab The girl and head to The Eaton Centre where I have not been for years!

    Thanks for the smile!


    Read more from The Mind of a Mom at: http://meonlydifferent.blogspot.com
  • Patrick
    November 23rd, 2009 3:10 pm

    Yay! Thanks, Mom! That's the best comment of the season … I've inspired someone to risk theirs and their child's life in downtown traffic. *sniff* This is what it's all about.


  • Kato
    November 21st, 2009 3:59 pm

    So pretty. Honestly, you make the fact that I am lazy bum and dont want to get on the subway for five minutes even better: I can just see Toronto through your eyes!

    Thanks!


    Read more from Kato at: http://pandorahsbox.blogspot.com
  • Patrick
    November 23rd, 2009 3:09 pm

    Kato, I do this so you don't have to. Otherwise I'd be out of a job! Also justifies the occasional camera upgrade :)


  • flipnomad
    November 21st, 2009 7:47 pm

    wow. they look really pretty


    Read more from flipnomad at: http://www.flipnomad.com
  • Patrick
    November 23rd, 2009 3:08 pm

    Better than the cold walls of abject financial destitution, eh Flipnomad?


  • RichaRie
    November 22nd, 2009 8:55 pm

    yay..cant wait for christmas *excited* holiday until new year


    Read more from RichaRie at: http://www.chibifest.com
  • Patrick
    November 23rd, 2009 3:06 pm

    Me too, RichaRie. Not sure if I can avoid that lump 'o coal in the stocking this year though.


  • Stanya
    November 23rd, 2009 9:04 pm

    I love Christmas since my chilhood very much. But today’s Christmas presentation is too business like, to cold, to impersonal, it is just amazig performance of lights and the basic magic of Christms is somehow mising. Especialy those ultra modern threes,yes they look nice but they can be used all year round to decorate window of any kind of more sofisticated store. But Mery Christmas to all of you.


    Read more from Stanya at:
  • Patrick
    November 24th, 2009 10:37 am

    Merry Christmas to you, Stanya :)


  • Emm
    November 27th, 2009 1:08 pm

    "a well laid-out 200-year-old European city (old buildings, cathedrals, etc.) melded with a bunch of really cool modern stuff"? It sounds perfect!!!


    Read more from Emm at: http://missus-emm.blogspot.com/
  • Patrick
    November 27th, 2009 8:05 pm

    Oh. Hehe, yeah, sounds perfect. There are, you know, challenges, Emm, but now that I've had a good chance to sample urban / suburban / rural living for good periods of time, living in the city is so far the best; much less survivalist than the sticks, much less suicidal than the burbs.


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