Celebrate your reason for the season

I recently saw  an ad that was  displayed online: “For sale, gold cross and chain; good condition but little man fell off.”

I’m thinking that maybe the significance of the cross was probably lost to the owner in the first place.

Maybe to them it was just a shiny piece of jewelry that went well with a certain blouse or sweater. Maybe when it wasn’t being worn it lay jumbled and tangled in a box or a drawer with other costume pieces.

Maybe this cavalier use of the cross was the reason the little man fell off.

That little man becomes jewelry for a lot of folks this time of year. He suddenly re-appears out of boxes and shows up in Nativity scenes or  on Christmas tree baubles. He adorns our radio stations and concerts and mantles and spends a month on display until it’s time to put him back in the box.

A recent Angus Reid poll showed that 93 per cent of the people in our province prefer the greeting ‘Merry Christmas’ to ‘Happy Holidays.’  I don’t know why they would have to conduct a poll to find that out. It has always been a very small minority who have tried  to convince us that we should  be careful not to offend people.

Unfortunately, this seven per cent minority seem to get elected or appointed or rise to the head of media or marketing firms. Once there, they try in vain to make us come around to their way of thinking. In my mind, the only explanation is that their little man fell off at some point and they were just too busy to stop and look for  him.

But the greeting is only part of the season. Whether we are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali or other ethnic festival, it is all about lights and music and sharing. It is time for family and spending too much and eating too much. It’s time for forgiveness and new beginnings. It’s time to stop looking in the rear view mirror and start looking out the windshield, focusing on what’s ahead.

It’s time for saying thanks, shaking hands and hugging, but you have to do it with feeling. The handshake should be firm and hearty while looking the other person straight in the eyes and smiling, followed by Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays if you prefer. Just make it genuine. Handing someone a ‘cold fish’ and mumbling as you walk away just won’t do.

Hugging should be sincere, not just a quick tentative touching. My dear friend Toots is a professional hugger. She starts with a bear hug embrace, that turns into a breast crushing clench and ends with a kiss on the cheek. A single hug from Toots can last up to three days because it comes from the heart. It’s one of the best Christmas gifts you can give and it costs nothing.

Dust off your old family traditions or start some new ones for the next generation. I recently heard of a family that ties  their dirty spoons together with string after Christmas dinner and doesn’t wash them until the next day to ensure the family sticks together for the New Year.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Whatever your reason for the season, celebrate it out loud for everyone to hear and try and hang onto that little man as long as you can.

At least that’s what McGregor says.

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