The surveys typically go on to reveal respondents’ beach-or-ski preferences and favourite sun-and-sand destinations. But these queries are irrelevant to me. After all, my in-laws live in Hamilton and parents reside in Ottawa, so the brood and I are usually on the road over the holidays. The six-hour drive between the two isn't enough to justify alternating yearly visits, which means Christmas Day at my parents' place, Boxing Day in Steeltown (or vice versa), and sometimes New Year's at my cousins’ chalet near Mont Tremblant, Que.
Here, then, is a survey for those road-weary Canadians who can honestly say they know how Santa feels on Christmas Eve:
1. You know it’s time to pull over when:
a) A snowboarder cuts you off
b) You see Yukon Cornelius (pictured above) trying to hitch a ride
c) The slow-plows are plowing you
d) You forget the lyrics to “Feliz Navidad”
2. What’s the most important rest-stop amenity?
a) Caffeine injection site
b) Ice-scraper showroom
c) Child Tasers
d) Earworm removal station (re: “Feliz Navidad”)
3. What’s the best alternative to the ice-scraper that inexplicably vanished from your trunk?
a) A CD case (remember those?)
b) A maxed-out credit card
c) A nativity character (the donkey works well)
d) A sleeping child
4. What’s the best way to ensure good child behavior during a December road trip?
a) A rousing game of “I Spy” (something that is white)
b) A rousing game of “Gift Wrap Sweat Shop”
c) More Santa-related threats
5. What’s the best way to recover from a long winter drive?
a) Massage therapy
c) Fill a pitcher with eggnog, dump out the eggnog, fill with rum
d) Fire up that new “aromatherapy device”
6. Why do you keep doing this, anyway?
c) “I Spy” competitiveness
d) Good practice for upcoming “Ice Road Truckers” audition