Time to make lemonade
There’s an old saying that when life hands you nothing but lemons, don’t complain, make lemonade.
This year, life has delivered to most of us more lemons than we can handle, and that has led to a lot of sour faces and sour moods. This is especially so at this time of year, when most of our traditional Christmas festivities have been either severely cut back or cut out completely. For example, no Santa Claus parade, no performance of the Messiah at Trinity United Church, no performance of the Nativity in Centennial Park by members of the Baptist Church (that wouldn’t be on this year, as it’s a Messiah year, but I’m trying to make a point, here), no Christmas concerts. Family gatherings will be substantially smaller and a good many of us will be spending Christmas alone.
Guess what! It’s time to make lemonade!
Undoubtedly there will be large numbers of people belly-aching about the COVID-19 protocols still in place – (and, in some areas, made even more restrictive) – and whining about how their Christmas has been ruined. But if we put our minds to it, this could be a Christmas to remember – and not just because of COVID-19.
It could be the Christmas when we learned that a few thoughtful gifts are far more meaningful than stacks of gizmos, gadgets and goo-gaws under the tree. It could be the Christmas when we re-learned the magic of spending time and engaging with our nuclear families and not making plans to descend on the shopping malls for Boxing Day sales.
It could be the Christmas when we re-discovered that a family game of charades or a sing-along is more fun than everyone having their noses buried in an iPhone, iPad or i-anything. It could be the Christmas when we took a chance at starting a craft or art project, or taught the kids how to bake an apple pie. And for the Christians – (after all, it is their holiday) – it could be the Christmas they returned to a quiet reflection of what Christmas is really all about.
And it really could be a good time to find out that giving actually is more rewarding than receiving. I don’t mean to sound as though I’m polishing my own apple, but in recent weeks I have taken to picking out kids at random on the street and inviting them to go into the book store to select any book they want. I’m sure it makes me happier than those I gifted.
In the few weeks remaining before Christmas, it would be a good time for many residents to discover the local merchants and what they have to offer. As deputy mayor Willie Popp said to me on the weekend: “Amazon doesn’t support your kids’ hockey team.” Nor does Amazon dress up its buildings with displays such as that seen outside Rutledge Jewelers, an annual display that actually attracts people to come with their cameras. Nor does Amazon offer the personalized service that most of our retailers give, often knowing many of their customers by name.
As you can read elsewhere, the Optimists’ Fantasy of Lights will be opening again in just over a week. This delightful experience has been growing every year, but it takes a lot of work, both before and during the event. The club is always looking for volunteers. Maybe this could be the Christmas that you first take up the challenge of being a volunteer. But, even if you don’t, at least take the time to drive through the Elgin Park display and drop some cash in the donation bucket. It’s rather like giving to yourself, because the Optimists use that money for such things as the pump park, new playgrounds and programs for local kids.
It seems to me this is the perfect opportunity to re-discover the joys of a simpler, quieter, less stressful Christmas and right now we could all use a lot less stress in our lives.
Tell me, am I wrong?
Want to tell Roger Varley if he’s wrong or right?
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