Northern Diaries: Plans for Christmas and New Years in Southern Ontario

I am so excited to be heading home and to bop around Southern Ontario for 17 days (well four of those will be driving to and from Southern Ontario). I am a bit worried that Ms. Omicron will ruin this for me, but I am keeping my vaccinated fingers and toes crossed in hope. I made all of these plans before she became such a thing, but I am getting my booster dose tomorrow morning and am getting tested at a pharmacy tomorrow afternoon before we start driving. I also plan on getting tested when I get home and then again after Christmas before I head down south. So while I don’t think keeping all these plans is the most responsible I can, these plans are the only thing giving me hope at the moment and yes I realize how sad that sounds but I know I am not the only person who has had long year this year.

The one thing that I am hopeful for in this go-round, is that we will all recognize how tired we all are. I am keeping these plans, to the extent that my friends are comfortable, and the government allows, because I need them. My soul needs them, and as much as I will understand why, if we end up in another lockdown, I am hopeful that if we still see people going out and doing things when we know they are vaccinated, boosted, and tested, we can trust that they are doing what they need and not be as judgmental as we may have been in other waves. I know that is something that I will need to work on.

So on Saturday we are setting off and we are hoping to get to Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario, not Michigan). We’ve been calling it “Sioux to Sault” jokingly because they are both pronounced “Soo”. It’s just over a 13 hour drive, and we will be stopping in Thunder Bay briefly (as briefly as possible, because their cases are quite high at the moment) and then going on from there. We’re staying in Sault Ste. Marie, in a hotel next to a Starbucks (!!!!! I’m so excited), and then stopping in Sudbury for some Christmas shopping because it is too late for me to order my Christmas gifts and I didn’t get to go to Kenora last weekend because I gave myself a concussion on Friday night and I couldn’t drive that far (also why there has only been one post this week, because I had it scheduled weeks ago).

My friend who is carpooling with me is headed to Toronto, and I to Ottawa, so we are splitting up, either in Sudbury or North Bay, whichever is easier for her family, I’m not sure yet. This is also a new addition to my plans, originally she was going to fly from Thunder Bay, but given Ms. Omicron she asked if she could hitch a ride with me, at least as close to Toronto as I will get in this leg of my journey.

From there I will go on the rest of the way home. It’s only about 7.5 hours from Sault Ste. Marie to Renfrew, so Sunday will be a shorter drive home. The one worry I do have is that apparently the weather along the east side of the Lake Superior highway can change in seconds. That’s why we took the “up and over” route when I moved here in March, it’s longer and has less stops, but it’s inland so the weather is predictable. Lake Superior is so big that it’s known as in “inland sea” and it really influences the weather in that area of Ontario.

I only took extra time off from December 22-24, so I will be working from my parents’ kitchen table for the Monday and Tuesday. And then I have scheduled a dentist appointment for the Tuesday morning and am getting an IUD installed and a pap smear on the Wednesday afternoon, so those are all boring days. Then I am hoping to get into Ottawa for some last minute Christmas shopping and because I need to get some clothes. I have a full shopping list of things I haven’t wanted to buy online because I don’t want to deal with the hassle of returns if stuff doesn’t fit or isn’t exactly what I am hoping it will be (I’m looking at the black t-shirt on my list here, why are t-shirts such a challenge to get perfect??).

Then we have Christmas proper, it’s always just my immediate family at Christmas, although I guess this year we will have my sister’s fiancé because that’s a thing now. But his family are all in England so it will just be the six of us. And then on Boxing Day, we are properly lazy. We make no plans, we read our Christmas books, watch our Christmas movies, and eat our Christmas chocs and that is it, that is all.

The 27th and 28th I’m not certain about. They are free days. I might use one of them to go to the movies and see as many of the movies I have on my list as possible, however, they may also just be lazy days to hide from the pandemic that I live and breathe every day of my professional life.

Photo by Enrique Hoyos on

Then the 29th is a day that I am very excited about! I am going to drive down to Toronto and hopefully (I had to fill out a form today saying that I still wanted to see the show after the new capacity limits were announced), see The Nutcracker, I have always wanted to see a ballet performance and especially have always wanted to see The Nutcracker. I know it’s normally the thing to see it before Christmas, but that doesn’t work with my schedule. And I’m hopefully going to see some friends, and maybe go to Anthropologie (eee!) and eat in a restaurant, or get delivery (oh that is so exciting!).

Then on the 30th I’m heading west to see a friend, I am hoping to stop in Hamilton at The Pale Blue Dot and The Millionaire’s Daughter. And we don’t have any plans at all, just to hang out. Then I am going to go to Guelph, most likely, this is the part that is most dependent on Ms. Omicron. But I am planning to go to Guelph and stomp the old stomping grounds. Get pastries at Eric the Baker, tacos at La Reina, eat a delicious dinner at Buon Gusto, or Miijiidaa, or The Wooly, or Baker St., shop at Blooms and Flora, Sunday General Store, If… Footwear, The Bookshelf. I am so excited. I f-ing love Guelph. I’m going to eat lunch at Crafty Ramen!! And likely see a few friends as well, if everything stays okay. I don’t know what will be open on the 1st, so I may just laze about my hotel or AirBnB, I haven’t booked anything yet.


Then early on the 2nd I will pick up my friend in Milton and we will come back up. Hopefully, stop in Wawa or Sault Ste. Marie on the way back up and then back to Sioux Lookout in time to start back at work on the 4th. I’m planning on bringing back the TikTok vlogs for some of this, although I am worried that now that things are getting bad again that I’ll get some heat if I do that.

I hope you still have fun things planned for the holidays, or at the very least you get to take a break from work and maybe see some friends or family.


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