Aha! It seems that my Christmas tree stand column last week struck a few chords. People have been sharing their experiences with the horror of ‘the tree stand’ stories all over Barrie. This is comforting... it’s nice to know that you’re not alone.

Here are some of the emailed responses I’ve received...

Helen Kuhn writes:

“I completely relate... the different gadgety tree stands sound all too familiar. I finally found a solution to the dilemma--we bought a plaastic tree and some Glade Pine Tree-scented plug-ins. Not quite the same thing, I know, but I have to say I don’t miss my cat climbing the tree, my daughter pulling off all the needles on the bottom branches and exchanging the same words with my husband everyday for the four weeks before Christmas: “It’s your turn to slide under the tree, I watered it yesterday!”

Denise Sutherland shared this:

“We also struggle every year with the tree stand, usually ending with me stating: “That’s it; next year we’re getting a fake tree. It’s not worth the hassle.” (which I never truly mean). Last year our tree fell down in the middle of the night with a big crash and we ended up bungee-cording it to our railing.

However, we found the perfect Christmas tree stand, $23 (or maybe $26) at Costco. It’s iron and very heavy, and has four legs, not three. It’s perfect. Thanks to this tree stand, no fights at the joyous time of putting up the Christmas tree!

An anonymous writer:

“I like your idea of wiring it to the ceiling!”

...

At this time of year we often hear adults complain that children’s lists are too long, their expectations are too high. I wonder how often we take credit for creating that. I remember well the look on a woman’s face when she leaned over to ask my four year old son what he wanted for Christmas. I piped up softly to her... “he can tell you what he’s making to give this Christmas. That’s where our focus is.” She was quick to pick up the point. Asking children what they want only reinforces the mercenary side of the season. Adults have the power to change that.

So, as you sit around your tree this Christmas, I hope you’ve made an extra space or two for a person whose life is less full than yours. It’s amazing how full our hearts can be as we stretch out our hands to give, rather than receive.

...

And two weeks ago I wrote about the frustration of trying to find La Source école français in Barrie’s south end for a woman who was trying to vote on election day.

Cathy Bodle was quick to phone me. Cathy runs Information Barrie at the Public Library and she’s right! Information Barrie can handle anything. If you’re ever lost for information, locations, directions, names and addresses of people or organizations, Cathy’s team is at the ready. Just call 727-7504

...

And lastly I want to recognize Don Stuart. Don is a wonderful treasure, right here in Barrie where he’s spent most of his working life producing magic here and internationally. Don was recently awarded an Order of Ontario, and it’s a recognition justly deserved.

Don Stuart is a metalsmith. He’s also a weaver. And he’s a designer. An artist. A teacher. Don’s metal designs have received the DeBeers Diamond Design Award every year for a long, long time. His unique skills cross almost every medium, and Don’s energy created the successful jewellery and metalsmith course at Georgian College, which is becoming a cornerstone in the college’s Design Arts program.

Don is a consistently kind, optimistic, generous person whose talent range makes him not only a local treasure, but a national one as well. He is a giant in his field and we’re lucky to have him here in our community.

When news of Don’s receipt of the Order of Ontario reached my office, my smile couldn’t have been bigger. It’s an award well deserved.

Thanks, Don!

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