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Happy holidays to you

Bill Fox

Bill Fox

By Bill Fox/Columnist

When I was a kid, my family received cards which we displayed with love around a doorframe during the holiday season.

How about your family? It was wonderful to receive updated pictures and kind words from family and friends who lived far away. A lot of those letters also included updates on what has happened to families during the past year.

I rather enjoyed those updates especially for people you otherwise had lost touch with.  So what happened?

In a recent survey by Parenting Magazine, only 22 per cent of all households surveyed said they would be sending out traditional Christmas cards this year. Many families are opting for family picture cards they can print on their own through online companies or have done at department stores.

Don’t know about you, but I sometimes get a little rushed at this time of year. Recently I was at my drug store waiting for a prescription. The lady in front of me, who was really well dressed for cold weather, had her tiny dog on a leash while waiting to get her medications.

Here I was judging her for bringing her dog into the drug store, when suddenly she turned towards me and said, “Are you the fellow who writes columns in our local paper?”

I was taken aback, as I rarely get recognized. She took off her mitten to shake my hand and compliment me on my columns.

I was focused on getting my prescription and now regret I had not taken the time to get her name and make a connection. But you see, it is the Christmas season and I’m in a rush, don’t you know?

I want to take this opportunity to thank that woman for the compliment and for taking the time to say hello. She taught me an important lesson that day.

Sister Sue Mosteller used to work and live with handicapped adults. Years ago, she taught me the secret of Christmas shopping.

A day was planned in December for Sister Sue and many of the residents and their assistants to go to Yorkdale to do their Christmas shopping. Towards the middle of the afternoon, the day had been a success and most of the shopping had been completed.

Sister Sue was having difficulty with “Bill.” He was slow, but despite being mentally challenged he was still quite sharp in his thinking.

Sister Sue devoted the rest of the afternoon to completing Bill’s Christmas shopping, and he had just one more person left to shop for — his aunt.

As they went through the mall, Sister Sue would offer suggestions to Bill. A nice lamp would be welcomed she thought. Bill pondered and related that his aunt had enough lamps.

What about a comfy sweater? Bill did not think his aunt needed a sweater, and besides, he was not certain of her favourite colour or her size. A nice throw rug might go well. Bill told Sister Sue of his aunt’s colour scheme in her apartment and how the rugs suggested would not fit in.

In the crowded mall, Sister Sue became increasingly impatient at the lack of success in buying a gift for Bill’s aunt. Then it occurred to her this elderly man with limited mental abilities was teaching her a very important lesson about the art of giving.

Bill was focused on buying a very special gift for his aunt. It was not suitable just to pick up anything from the mall, to appease his aunt or Sister Sue for that matter. It was a gift from her nephew, and as such had to be special.

Please check out “Happy Holidays to You” sung by Toronto artist Roz Bell and co-written by my son Michael.

You can find it by searching for it on Google or YouTube, or you may have heard it recently on one of our local radio stations. The song reflects my hopes for you and yours during this Christmas season.

May we all have wonderful times with our families remembering the reason for the season, and realizing how fortunate we are to live in such a “warm” country.

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