Canadian Artists Show Off Their Holiday Spirit
The Dears, Steven Page, Alexisonfire's George Pettit and more share their decorations
Published Dec 16, 2020To close out a year that's been anything but normal, it's only fitting that everyone's holiday plans are a little different in 2020. When we reached out to Canadian artists to find out how they will be celebrating the holidays, there was one common dominator: nearly everyone's traditions have changed.
But even if gatherings are smaller (or non-existent) and trips are cancelled, musicians are still finding ways to celebrate the holidays. Decorations, Christmas albums, holiday livestreams, and even a shift as a firefighter — here's how some of our favourite artists will be celebrating the festive season.
You're a mean one, Rich Aucoin! The East Coast pop artist made our heart grow three sizes with this Grinchy photo of his holiday celebration. He tells Exclaim! that he will be spending Christmas surfing in Halifax, as well as watching Star Wars with his nephews. "Might watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas at some point," he adds.
Dears members Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak usually visit family in Toronto or Calgary over the holidays, but this year they'll be at home in Montreal with their two kids. This means lot of gaming, including Red Dead Redemption 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Minecraft and Immortals Fenyx Rising. "Onward and downward into sweatpants season," says Yanchak. Their new 7-inch features the holiday original "Christmas Love" and a cover of "O Little Town of Bethlehem."
Vocalist Katie Munshaw's lifelong holiday tradition has been to visit Toronto for the Santa Claus Parade and to buy a new ornament from the Bay. Even though the trip to Toronto wasn't possible this year, she sent Exclaim! this photo of the family's new decoration. "Because of COVID, my mom resorted to finding her annual decoration addition at a local store where we're from in Oshawa," she says. "She landed on this decoration that looks like it was modelled after our dog."
Last year, Halifax singer-songwriter Jenn Grant spent the holidays recording a Christmas album; this year, it came out. Here's Grant with her tree and the newly released Forever on Christmas Eve. And that's not all she's doing to spread holiday cheer: "I am even going carolling at people's houses, with my fabulous, socially distanced holiday entourage," she tells Exclaim!
Spending the holidays alone, not seeing family, free to indulge personal whims. That's the plot of 1990's Home Alone, and it's also reality for Vancouver's Kandle Osborne. Fittingly, she plans on "watching Home Alone at least four times, playing a lot of loud electric guitar jumping on my bed, and feeding my kitten Pussy Galore as much Fancy Feast as her little heart desires." She'll also be working on songs for a new Canadian indie supergroup with Louise Burns, Debra-Jean Creelman and Kendel Carson. She released the gothic carol "Christmas Mourn" earlier this month.
Toronto multi-instrumentalist Luna Li usually spends the holidays baking and decorating with her mom — but since they're not in the same bubble, her mom lent her this "little baby" tree. "I love the holidays and, despite this year being hard with the pandemic, I'm also excited to start new traditions," the artist also known as Hannah Bussiere tells Exclaim! From the look of things, maybe those new traditions will include more of her viral harp jams.
Former Barenaked Ladies member Steven Page lives in New York State, and normally his kids visit from Canada for the holidays. This year, however, it will be just Page and his wife and stepson. "One of the things that has saved 2020 for me has been the weekly livestream concerts I've been doing — they've kept me sane and busy, and have developed their own little community, which is is pretty fantastic." Tickets are available now for his New Year's Lockdown Eve show on December 31.
George Pettit of Alexisonfire
In addition to being Alexisonfire's lead screamer (and a member of Black Lungs and Dead Tired), George Pettit is a firefighter, and he'll be working a 24-hour shift this Christmas. "Shoutout to all the first responders spending the 25th with their work families and FaceTiming their biological families," he tells Exclaim!
Josh McIntyre — of Prince Innocence, and formerly of Little Girls and Healings — says Christmas is his favourite holiday. In addition to making dark electronic beats under the name Prince Josh, his musical tastes also extend to all things Christmas. "I have a ridiculous obsession with Christmas music," he tells Exclaim! "The carols, the classics and the weird stuff. Lately I've been listening to Alan Vega's No More Christmas Blues and Low's Christmas album."