Merry Christmas

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Christmas is here and over the next day or so, traditions will unfold that make us all warm and fuzzy inside. We will go out of our way to make sure the sequence of events is the same as it’s always been and everyone sits exactly where they’re supposed to and so on and so on. Keeping with the tradition I want to share a column I’ve been sharing (with minor changes) for a while. Hope your Christmas is a traditional one and unfolds just like it does in your dreams.

It’s funny, no matter how old I am or where I am, I still get excited about Christmas. I guess I was blessed with a childhood that meant Christmas was a place where I was warm and safe and frankly, I can’t ever recall being disappointed on Christmas morning.

In our family (mom, dad, brother and me), we certainly weren’t rich and my folks didn’t have high-paying jobs but somehow, my mother could work “magic” with the money that was coming in and we were never without.

Ironically, our neighbours had two boys in their family as well and they did have a bit of cash behind them, but the differences never made a difference, if you know what I mean. For that reason alone, I feel very lucky and very blessed growing up.

As I sat down to write this column, I had a plan and what I have written so far, was not in the plan. The words just came out and I guess it’s just something I had to say.

You see, out of the two neighbouring families—8 people in total—only two of us remain. My brother and I are still on this earth (at least as of this writing). The rest are gone and it makes you stop and take note at how fleeting time is on this earth and you better make the best of it because you just never know when your time will be up.

It sounds like it’s getting morbid here, but I guess I say this so that you will make every effort to make sure this Christmas is a special one for your loved ones. If you have kids, it’s important to make that special effort because you never know if your actions are giving birth to a “Christmas tradition,” that will live on, long after you have gone.

It’s funny how easily we all get bored during the year if we have to do the same thing over and over, yet at Christmas, young and old alike have a sequence of events that must unfold just so, or the holiday is just not the same.

I can remember one year “Santa” didn’t visit our house. Oh, we got plenty of presents from mom and dad but “Santa” didn’t leave any toys. My brother was in university at the time and I was already in the work world and home for Christmas. We looked forward to those gifts that magically showed up on Christmas morning. They weren’t big things, just silly little toys, but it meant “Santa” had been in our house and tradition had been served and everything was good.

The one year that was missed came under close scrutiny of my brother and I and we questioned our parents unmercifully that Christmas and fortunately “Santa” showed up again the following year and it was good.

You see, it was a tradition and although my brother and I facetiously milked this one oversight for what it was worth, there was some legitimacy to it. My brother and I still talk about it when we look at pictures of “Ma and the old man” as we called them.

As you can deduce, that tradition is still with me today, even though mom and dad are gone, because I’ve shared it with you (hope you didn’t mind).

It really is one of the many facets of Christmas that pops up every year so if you’re raising a young family, then be aware of what is going on around you. You are likely doing things that your kids are latching onto and will become traditions in your family and their families in the years ahead. If your kids are grown up, please understand that they become kids again at Christmas and they’re looking for those special moments—those special traditions of Christmas. They may seem silly to you now that the kids are grown but they’re still your children and Christmas tends to make children of us all and I thank the good Lord for that!

In my living room right now, is a cheesy little sparkly house that is labeled “tool shed.”

My dad used to have a pile of these things (you can’t get them anymore) and he would create a “Christmas scene.” This is the only cheesy house left and I’ll never know why he labeled it “tool shed” because they all looked the same anyway. But it meant something to him and to me, he is in my living room at Christmas because of this little house and his handwriting that says “tool shed.” Go figure.

As good as things are for most of us, there are those who are having a rough time of it and it stands out even more at this time of year. If you can see it in your heart and your pocketbook, please share your good fortune with the various charities and food drives that have been underway these past few weeks. It will be appreciated and it’s one of the best gifts you can give—the gift of caring.

Well it’s Christmas. May you and yours know the joys and wonders of the season that I knew as a child and still know today. Thank you mom and dad for taking the time to make sure Christmas was just so because it has given me a lifetime of traditions that I still re-visit every season.

Little did I realize that gifts would come and go but this special gift of traditions and memories is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Merry Christmas to you and now if someone (usually my dad) could get the turkey and perogies going, it’s time to put on the feed!

I’m John Divinski.

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