The famous three-day Christmas in November celebrations at the Fairmont Jasper Place Lodge, the same package repeated three times (Nov. 4-7, Nov. 7-10 and Nov. 10-13) this year, is a hoot-and-a-half of getaway fun – with 400 to 500 people per time slot out to thoroughly enjoy themselves with receptions, galas, dances, food and craft demonstrations and wine, wine, wine.
But, face it, for 27 years Christmas in November has been primarily designed and attended by women. It works mostly as a three-day getaway for small groups of female friends, and family combinations.For whatever reasons, food and decoration themed events don’t hold that much interest to men.
Except … times are changing. More men enjoy being hobby chefs, even outside of the summer BBQ months. More men are beginning to come to the Jasper Park Lodge’s Christmas in November with their wives or significant others.
The organizers this year came up with a bold new concept – why not a “Man Cabin” as part of the three-day festivities. Open to women too, of course, but a space for men to do what men quite often most like to do: Thanks to sponsors, drink free beer, enjoy Scotch tastings, smoke cigars and learn new BBQ recipes to impress their families and friends.
The Man Cabin, opening at 3 p.m. and running into the night during each of the three Christmas in November time packages, was an undeniable success. Just a place for the guys to hang out, meet one another, talk about good spirits and good BBQ recipes. Just as men are most welcome at all the cooking sessions and the Décor Cabin if they so wished (the ratio of women to men at most of the Christmas in November sessions would be about 10:1) so did many ladies enjoy the Man Cabin and were welcomed in.
A highlight of the Man Cabin was barbecue cooking demonstrations by Food Network Canada personality Michael Olson, showing us dozens of different ways to marinate, dry rub and grill different cuts of pork (all was thoughtfully sponsored by the Alberta Pork producers’ association.) Inside, well-known bartender Micah Dew held forth to a full-house crowd on the qualities of different Scotches.
I’d have to say the Man Cabin is here to stay as a Christmas in November event. While it may defy the current dictates of gender blurring, it is simply human nature, from time to time, men occasionally need the companionship of other men, just as women need the companionship of other women.