The Yuletide is High
Every December 1st it’s the same old thing: I broach the coronary-inducing topic of Christmas shopping with Andrew, while he, in turn, responds with his usual Rudolph-in-the-Headlights disbelief, moaning, “Ugh, already? We only have a couple of things to buy, right?”
Helloooo?! Twenty-three years, seventeen nieces and nephews, and two children later, do we really have to have this conversation again? Like it or not, we bought into the whole Kris Kringle thing a long time ago (though significantly pared down by now), so there can’t be any mystery to the means by which he’s made to look magnanimous on Christmas Day. With all due respect to the nativity scene, I am his Christmas miracle.
I will admit, however, that seasonal materialism can suck the life out of me too if we don’t do something to balance the scales each year. So last Christmas Eve we seized the opportunity when we found ourselves downtown driving through the business district on our way home from a failed attempt to take in a carol service (apparently you can’t just pop into a Cathedral a half hour before show time and expect a seat – no room at the inn.)
The kids noticed a homeless man shivering over a sewer grate and wanted to do something to help him. As I’d recently cleared out some old winter jackets that were still in the trunk, we rummaged through the lot, found one big enough to fit him, and with flashers on, got out of the car en masse, four nervous do-gooders, and gave the man the coat. For the next hour, we drove around delivering coats, hot coffee and sandwiches to anyone we saw that seemed in need. The human connections we made that day, asking people their names, shaking their hands, was something I’ll never forget. Nor will the kids I hope.
This year we decided not to wait until Christmas Eve, instead, starting our coffee deliveries each Sunday morning back in October; our own little version of church. And while we know we can’t fix the homeless problem one hot drink at a time, it’s done more for our family than any wrapped gift we could ever give or receive.
Happy holidays, everyone!
Andie Duncan’s ability to communicate has taken her from JUNO Nominated songwriter to published author. As an older mom to two young kids, she relies on the humour in everyday life to inspire her stories, if not to ensure her very survival.