Home for Christmas

Hardly a Christmas story has been told that doesn’t have a reference about getting home for Christmas. Weather reports suggest that might not be so easy a task this year for many travelers.

The importance of housing transcends the trappings of the typically rich and poor. A house is a house, but a home is where most of us seek refuge from the rigors of the world. It should be a place where comfort washes over the soul as soon as the door closes and the sounds of busy streets and frantic lives are silenced if only for a little while. It should also be a place for prized possessions, whether photos of family or heirlooms or something as personal as an old harmonica grandpa played in the evening. For many, that home, and we hope it was a good home, is filled with memories of kindness and hope. It’s all about perspective, whether we choose to harbour ill-will towards others or think the best.

The holidays can quite easily bring out the best and worst in people. Greed of course, has a way of rearing its head this time of year where the race to get what’s hot this Christmas or spend beyond one’s means is so tempting. Others will wallow in self-pity and loathing that some people have more than they do, forgetting to notice that there are even more who have far less. It’s all a case of perspective and choosing to cherish peace over contempt.

This holiday season, however, is different for many and the struggle to be joyous, let alone content, is overshadowed by an economy that is in trouble. While there may be fewer gifts under the Christmas tree this year, there are many and soon to be more families that may not have a house to call home. We do not believe the fault of that lies in keeping up with the Jones’.  Layoffs, reduced hours, and in the worst case, shuttered businesses are starting to take a toll on households. It costs a lot of money to get by and raise a family. To us, when this bastion of comfort is imperiled, society runs the risk of slipping into times where desperate people do what they need to do to get by.

This past week, as someone we knew groaned about their lot in life, we referenced the woman who burned to death when her shopping cart home went ablaze. Similarly, in one of the richest countries in the world, beggars struggle to get change for a warm coffee or drink before hunkering down for the night in a doorway or over a grate, subtly warmer than the sidewalk. While little solace can be taken in having it better than those poor souls, perspective is needed on the trivialities lots of us face.

For the auto workers and others granted a reprieve, if only temporarily by recent government announcements, we are happy. Infrastructure funding will continue, so that roads and bridges can be built. Some communities hope to use the funds so people can enjoy recreational activities. But, we cannot help think the ignored issue of affordable housing could have been easily addressed at this time too.

 We see housing as the key ingredient to success as a nation. In terms of health and wellness, there is little more obvious to us than the sanctity of a home. The simple reality is money dictates the extent to which people can live. Truthfully the existence for some is quite meager. Resources spent propping up industry in which multi-nationals choose the bottom line over Canadians, should be spent on housing plans that ensure a safe home is possible for all. Far more industries would be aided under this formula, keeping suppliers and trades working. With a rational approach, there is no reason that programs for the working poor should be avoided any longer.

That’s how we see it this Christmas. On behalf of our Publisher and staff, thank you for your patronage and please enjoy a safe and happy holiday.