Having seen greater than 80 Christmases wander by on an annual basis, with happy memories flowing freely of many years now long gone past, I have found, disappointedly, the felicity of phrase escaping me more and more as the purpose of the season has been pushed further and further aside by the endless lust for the almighty dollar.
Christmas is no longer what it once was.
Its total meaning has lost the deep-set luster of bygone days. The thoughts of lowing cattle and the swaddled baby in the manger have been replaced completely by the pushing of an over-stressed credit card into a handheld mechanism that robs not only the dollars but also the worship of the Christ child as well. Christmas just ain’t Christmas anymore!
One need only walk into any of the big box stores, as early as mid-November, and see the floor-to-ceiling displays coupled with the centre aisle, so-called discount items. The overworked staff, if you should need any guidance, can simply be found only by chance. Having been hired, usually on a part-time, minimum wage basis, which excludes the majority of most all benefits, has a tendency to rob both ambition and enthusiasm as well.
The money so kept from the employees’ pockets is incredibly passed on to you and to me as, once again, so-called savings.
Meanwhile, food banks scream for much-needed assistance, while governments openly brag about the extra jobs, though short and seasonal, that have been created.
Who is kidding whom?
The Christmases that I remember, still dear to my heart, involved simple, handmade gifts that were exchanged, such as the single orange with a handful of hard candy stuck in the toe of a stocking.
I remember the self-cut tree hauled from the bush, through soft, fluffy snow clear up to your butt. I remember the handmade decorations, crepe paper crimped ribbons, garlands of string-strung popcorn, and home-baked gingerbread cookies that dangled on strings.
I remember also the richness felt when neighbourhood school chums dropped in to gaze at the single crystal green ball that hung shining on our tree. It was bought for 30 well-pinched pennies by my mother the year I was born.
That same crystal ball still hangs, unbroken, as a much-treasured keepsake in my room today.
Those are the memories I cherish, and let me now, on behalf of my Little Lady, who is no doubt my guardian angel, take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy and, most of all, healthy New Year!
Take care, ‘cause we care.