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You will likely be reading this a few days before Christmas and I hope that this moment means you are taking time to breathe. Maybe, you’re having a coffee or tea at a local establishment, I say grab that cookie or sweet and enjoy the sweet taste it gives.

I feel like my heart will bust with all the beautiful acts of kindness I have seen take place. We have so many earth angels here that they get overlooked in the hustle of a commercial Christmas. I have been steadfast about not purchasing gifts for people this year, my family truly has everything we need, and giving my time in lieu of physical gifts is what I have done.

I asked my beautiful grandparents what their favourite Christmas memory was, my grandfather giggled like a little boy and said the few simple gifts under the tree were the best part, he spoke about his brothers and sister. His smile was infectious, and he made me tear up with joy as he helped untangle the dreaded ornament hooks while I decorated their Christmas tree.

My grandmother told me about the time her mother, Esther, had broken her leg and was in the hospital for Christmas. My great-grandmother was a basket maker, she would travel to the mainland to sell her goods and that year she wouldn’t be home.

That year Christmas was taken care of by my great-grandfather Richard and my great-grandmother’s uncles. It was one of the best apparently, and from the smile on her face while recalling it, I believe her. At 88- and 89-years young those memories were vivid and instant when I asked them to recall their favourite Christmas.

My grandmother remembers sleigh bells ringing from the roof top on Christmas Eve and said that it was one of the most beautiful sounds she had heard. She laughed when she told me the story, how the men did their best to create a Christmas without the family matriarch. Her uncles removed the bells from the horses and used them to replicate Santa’s trip on the roof. Stockings were hung with real nails and in the morning a beautiful doll was gifted to her and her sisters. They also had oranges and grapes in the stockings. So simple, but so memorable and so full of love.

So, as you stress about the gifts that need to be given, remember that your presence is much more important than your presents. A memory of hearing sleigh bells might be the one someone recalls eighty years later.

My favourite memories of Christmas have always included them, and I’m not sure if I will have many more. I hope I do, but not having a crystal ball in front of me I choose to make more memories every day. 

My grandmother braiding my hair for church and my grandfather driving us to mass is one of the most special memories I have.

My new favourite Christmas memory will be recalling the time I spent with them this year and hearing their stories without anyone else, just me and my grandparents. 

My wish for you all

I hope that you will be surrounded by love and kindness.

I hope that you will hear the bells of Santa Clause and your spirit will be warmed when you see simple acts of kindness.

I hope that the world sees peace.  

I hope that every child will get something this year, even if it’s just warmth and a safe space.

I hope that every parent or guardian who is looking for a loved one feels a moment of peace.

I hope that the Creator reveals himself as he holds those who are alone when they leave us. I hold this prayer for my Indigenous brothers and sisters who will not share another Christmas with us because they have succumbed to the epidemic that is the disregard for murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls across Turtle Island.

I wish you all love and peace.

And Hope Santa gets my letter to Ryan Reynolds!

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