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Well, here we are again. Another year is nearly over heralded by the coming of Christmas in a few days. Let’s take a step back and look at what is supposed to be a joyous time of the year. First, let me look at “shopping” which often turns out to be more of a chore than enjoyment. Watching folks rush around overcrowded shopping malls after driving around a half hour in a parking lot trying to find a spot. Take a good look at the shoppers! How many are smiling and appear happy? What about the little kids who are tugging on arms howling, “I want to go home!” Do you ever wonder what it is all for? Do you think this is the true enjoyment of sharing and giving or just another name on a Must Buy For list? That makes the joy of Christmas questionable and more of an obligation.

No, I am not a grinch. Some families travel for miles to reconnect at this time of the year. Others plan a quiet Christmas with close family or friends. Some folks are alone for a variety of reasons. They may be the elderly living in apartment complexes, in retirement or nursing homes. Some are families new to our area who feel sad leaving their homeland and are now living in a strange country with strange customs.  I guess where I am going with all of this is to look round and see how you can put out your hand in friendship. The community in which I live erected a Christmas tree in the lobby of our local community centre and local Tim Horton’s coffee shop. The tree was covered with what appears to be gift tags. Bless whoever thought of this. Members  visited our retirement and nursing homes chatting with residents asking what little gift they would like to receive from Santa.  The requests were transferred onto tags which were then put on the tree. The requests were so humble, I could have cried: a nature puzzle, a box of chocolates, body wash, hand cream, thermal socks, a pair of gloves…… you get the idea. I understand  the tree has been filled several times. Our local supermarket throughout the year puts together bags of canned and boxed goods to be purchased by shoppers for ten dollars. These bags are passed on to our local food bank.  By the way, there are also bags of cat and dog food! This is community spirit at work.

So, while we each celebrate Christmas in our own unique way, let us not forget there are people outside of our circle who need acknowledgment, kindness and understanding. We can contribute financially to organizations who fill the needs of our unnamed citizens. Let us do what we can, smile and give with thankfulness and try to understand, what I think is, the true spirit of Christmas.  As Tiny Tim requested in the Christmas Carol, Scrooge, “Bless us, every one!”

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