Meanwhile at the Canadian Christmas Market (it had temporarily changed its name for the holiday season, as was the custom every year), Kitchener, Longueuil and Chicoutimi were preparing their stalls for the influx of customers coming to buy their festive snacks and dinners later on. Chicoutimi had bought a dozen cartons of red wine from the local vineyard a few days prior, and he’d left them outside in the snow to make his own impromptu ice wine. He poured a couple of bottles into a saucepan, adding cloves, cinnamon and star anise and turning the heat to medium. Longueuil had begun to mix some fruit juices in a bowl, adding gum to make it soft and chewy yet crisp and crunchy. Kitchener was making stuffing by blending some crushed onions with sage leaves and rolling them into flour balls, packing them inside a hollowed-out turkey. Around the market, many other entrepreneurs were also setting up their stalls and beginning to make some festive wares to sell and make a little money. Abbotsford was knitting some hats for her patrons to keep their heads warm, away from the freezing snow and winter winds. Guelph was moulding some clay into Christmas decorations, drying them out in his kiln, the hot air heating him and his stall.

Calgary and Winnipeg sat down at the table to eat breakfast with the rest of the family, Calgary photographing the food with his new tablet. “Oh, Calgary, you’re addicted to that tablet now,” Edmonton laughed at him as he picked up a few rashers of bacon from the tray in the middle. “It’s too fun to put down,” Calgary smiled as he took some slices of buttered toast from the rack and began to take small bites out of them. He put down his tablet on the table to avoid smearing it with butter and making the shiny new screen greasy. “Dad, come over here, look!” Winnipeg called from the sitting room. “Winnipeg?” Winnipegosis called back, hearing his son’s voice. “He must’ve turned the TV on.” Calgary and Edmonton carried their breakfasts with them over to the sitting room. Now they could see why Winnipeg wanted them to come over – The Snowman was playing on the TV. “Oh, The Snowman!” Calgary yelled excitedly. “They show it every Christmas!” “Every Christmas,” thought Winnipegosis rather sadly, shaking his head as he sat down with Edmonton on the couch. Calgary and Winnipeg sat down on the floor, happily munching away as they watched The Snowman in all its magical glory.

Pictou held tightly onto the box of lobster eggs as he bit at his bacon sandwich with brown sauce, the water swishing from left to right inside. He couldn’t mistreat it, or the eggs would rupture and that would seriously jeopardize the chance of any new lobsters being born. He carefully placed the box down in front of him, watching the eggs inside jiggle slightly.

Halifax stopped by a cafe to get out of the cold and warm himself up with some breakfast. While he waited in the queue, he retrieved his phone from his trenchcoat and opened the address book, adding his colleague Lloydminster as a new contact. He wished Lloydminster a Merry Christmas via text message, and soon enough, Lloydminster wished him a Merry Christmas back. “A large decaf latte, please,” Halifax asked at the counter, and he pressed his credit card against the contactless sensor as he went to sit down at a free table, still texting Lloydminster. A few minutes later, his coffee arrived, decaffeinated just like he wanted. “Thanks,” he said to the waiter, and he curled his gloved hands around the hot cup, keeping them pleasantly warm and toasty.

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