Editorial: Spread Christmas magic

Tomorrow is the first day of December and, snow or no snow, we are entering the Christmas season going full steam ahead.

Some people love the hustle and bustle of Christmas, and some people don’t. But one of the things many people can agree upon is that Christmas is a time for giving. It’s a time for showing family, friends neighbours, and, yes, even strangers that they’re appreciated. It’s a time for families and communities to come together.

Christmas gives each one of us an added excuse to talk to the person in line behind us at the supermarket, to open the door for a stranger, to donate to a local charity, or to help an elderly person cross the street.

But, just as important, Christmas is a time for adults to remember what it was like to be a child who loved the holiday season with its many carols, stories, television specials, parties, craft fairs, bake sales, concerts, and sleigh rides. It’s a time to be filled with awe and wonder, a time to believe in magic and a time to believe in Santa Claus.

Santa, widely known for his jolly gift-giving ways, is about more than our consumerist society would have people believe.

Unchecked holiday consumerism destroys the Christmas spirit. People who overextend themselves by spending more than they can afford rob themselves of the magic and happiness that often come with the December holiday. Focusing on making everything, from the tree, to the gifts, to the decorations, or parties, as perfect as possible is a recipe for madness, and it’s a sure fire way to kill any trace of magic that may be brewing.

The answer to this magic-stealing phenomenon is to remember to keep it simple. Does this mean no more gift buying? Of course not. Make a gift or buy a gift, both are fine. It’s the intention behind the gift, not the cost of it that tells the receiver they’re appreciated. And, spending within a limit erases the stress of balancing that cheque book. Also, remember to support your community by buying local when you can.

Above all else, it’s the gifts of time and a generous spirit that help to create Christmas magic. Take your family to the Santa Claus parade. Join in on one of the many Christmas parties, brunches, or carolling sessions. Build a gingerbread house with (or without) children in tow! Get your picture taken with Santa, but remember, don’t be a grumpy Grinch, wait your turn in line just like everyone else and, if you’re up for the challenge, try to be the goodwill Elf who makes standing in line the best place to be that day.

Above all else, show compassion for those in situations less fortunate than yours. Donate to the local food bank if you can, participate in the Angel Tree program, the Christmas Exchange, or the Snowsuit Fund. Be the one who spreads the magic this Christmas.

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