Unfortunately (for some), I only write a column once a month. I usually have so many topics on the go, it's hard to pick just one.
With the Christmas season upon us, I have to go with "the season of giving" as my monthly venture.
Recently I was listening to the children express their memories of "their favourite Christmas" and sat in awe of some of the answers.
I listened to one little boy who was in Grade 4 rattle off that last year (in Grade 3) was his favourite Christmas. He received a Nerf gun, an iPad, a pellet gun and other gifts that had my jaw dropping. Are you kidding me? Who at eight years of age needs a pellet gun?
I don't know what bothered me more, the phone or the pellet gun. It didn't stop there. I listened to child (yes, child) after child speak of their wondrous Christmas receiving everything from iPods to X-Boxes to quads and ski-doos. Whatever happened to a toboggan or a Barbie? Am I just old fashioned or has gift giving just gotten out of control?
When I was a kid, we got one gift from Santa and one from Mom and Dad. We had stockings (by the way, that would be REAL socks) lined up over the (fake) fireplace which netted us a Christmas orange and some of that great hard candy. Santa usually brought us something special, like a doll - not necessarily a Barbie (maybe they weren't around back then) and then the parent's gift consisted of pajamas, underwear and/or socks in some combination. We thought that was the best thing ever and do you know why? Because that is how our parents brought us up. We were (and still are today) truly grateful for each other. That was our gift - our family. Going outside building a snowman with frozen, snotty faces was our gift. That's what our parents instilled in us - togetherness.
I was also lucky enough to have godparents who always made sure I had something special in addition to having to provide for their own children. This gift was also nothing huge (in terms of dollar value) but to me, the value was in making sure I felt extra special in a household of 11 people (Thank you Auntie Rose and Uncle Matt). Not like the kids today. They feel that they should get a present from each of their aunts and uncles no matter what.
The other huge part of my childhood was church. My parents made sure we were given this precious gift for whatever we decided to do with it in our adult lives. At the time, we didn't know what the purpose was (except a big breakfast afterwards) but as an adult, I get it. I truly get it.
Maybe that's why I'm so frustrated with the kids nowadays. It's not their fault. It's the environment that their parents have created. They are allowing these kids to be spoiled little brats by giving in to their every whim and then can't understand when their children rip open ten or so gifts and comment "That's it?" There are columns right here in our paper this week, where families have created an atmosphere of 'memories' and after all, isn't that what it's all about? Remember, it's up to you to make them a viable adult. How are you doing with that?
During this festive season (and all year long) drinking and driving is a serious subject. My aunt (and godmother - you see what I mean about memories. She's still keeping an eye on me) forwarded this to me and I am sharing it with you. Enjoy!
Holiday Advice: With the Holidays upon us I would like to share a personal experience with my friends about drinking and driving.
As you may know some of us have been known to have brushes with the authorities from time to time on the way home after a "social session" out with friends.
Well two days ago I was out for an evening with friends and had several cocktails followed by some rather nice red wine. Feeling jolly I still had the sense to know that I may be slightly over the limit. That's when I did something that I've never done before - I took a cab home.
Sure enough on the way home there was a police road block but since it was a cab they waved it past. I arrived home safely without incident. This was a real surprise as I had never driven a cab before, I don't know where I got it and now that it's in my garage I don't know what to do with it.
Maxine's saying: Whoever wrote "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" never shoveled a walkway (isn't that the truth).
Pet Peeve: Due to "the season" my only pet peeve is if you spend more money than time with your loved ones. That would be a huge waste. Merry Christmas to all my readers and safe travels during the holiday season.