Christmas is a season, not a day. That’s what I kept telling myself as I stood among the tissue and ribbon and the gazillions of bottles of herb vinegar, bags of hand made dip herbs, books, knitted items, soaps, etc. It is my style to enjoy making something and then do a lot of it. It turns Christmas into a pot pourri (I make that, too) of baskets, selected specifically for the person whose gift I’m wrapping.

So, what’s this column about? It’s about the significance of re-connecting with people whose presence makes our lives richer, giving gifts to symbolize the importance of people in our lives... the incredible push to do it all on one day, the feeling that if THE?DEADLINE?isn’t met, we’ve somehow failed. It’s an unrealistic expectation to force everything down the funnel to pop it out on one day.

So, on Boxing Day, Merry Christmas. Or Happy Hannukah. Or a Pleasant Festival of Lights. Whatever your faith, this season is one that recognizes the winter solstice, that twinkles in merriment of light our celebration of winter--now that it’s finally here!

The season always leads me to gratitude, and to identifying the growth that I want to work toward during our last year in this century. I could fill a column with all the things I’m grateful for, and most of those things might be on your list, too. I’m grateful for my good health and the health of my family. And I’m grateful that in Barrie we have a health care community (both traditional and alternative) whose mandate protects us under its umbrella. I love this city and its clear water and wonderful amenities. I love the richness of the cultural fabric of our community... our theatre companies, art galleries, symphony orchestra, concert band, library, gardening lovers, and on and on.

The most important aspect of my gratitude rests with people. We have here a community of people, with positive attitudes and generous spirits. This is the richness of everything else that we have that’s good. We have our feet on Barrie soil, and often our hearts are working for others in developing countries, and locally in our foodbank, drop in centres and shelters.

So, I recognize our goodness and greedily wish for more. Wishing is sort of like goal-setting without the pencil. Musing without muscle. Ready? Here goes...

If I had a wish it would be that the harried people who work in retail in this community could be given two full days to enjoy their families and friends. Two full days after the hectic, driven-n ess of shopping, but no! they have to be back at it 24 hours after the lights were shut off.

If I had a second wish it would be for safety for our commuters as they head out in the blackness of the early morning to make their livings south of here.

My third wish would be for lots of snow so we can have a wonderful winter carnival, frozen ice on the Bay, ski hills that are loaded with snow base for all the ski operators in the region.

My fourth wish is that Victoria Village gets off the ground and offers all the amenities that would support a community of living.

Fifth? It would be for computer technology that would allow our traffic lights along each street to be synchronized. You know the theory... when you get to one intersection and the light turns green, it’s also green at the next intersection (especially Essa Rd). It would really help our growing traffic flows during what has become Barrie’s “rush hour.”

Sixth? I would wish continued challenge and success for those Barrie boys in V.I.P. whose first CD is finding its way onto the Much Music charts across the country.

Seventh? Eighth? Ninth? Tenth? Should I have so many? Should any of us? (Actually, it’s Community Editor Lori Martin’s wish that I’d get this column in on time) I owe it to myself to get better at what I do and how I think and act. Personal growth, personal challenges that translate into goodness for others. That’s a pretty full basket. Guess I’ll stop writing and get at it.

Happy New Year!

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