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A THORNY CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE

If Willie Nelson were to hold a concert for all his fans to attend, would a place the size of your living room be big enough?

That may give you an idea of the Christmas problem Esther faced this year.

From 1995 to just over three months ago we had an acrerage of about one and a half acres. Esther, a Christmas light fanatic, insisted on decorations over about half of the outdoor space plus every room in the house.

I of course had to help, but not being quite as addicted to the project, I did not--she often reminded me--over-strain myself. I enjoy Christmas decorations, but as she continued each year to add more and more lights and deer and Santas and snowmen and wreaths and….”Please”, I would howl in desperation, “please, enough. No more! No more!” But I might as well have begged the North Saskatchewan to stop flowing or Donald Trump to stop tweeting.

When her decorations were complete, however, it was a wonderful, spectacular sight, Esther’s way of celebrating the birth of the Christ Child. It was a pleasure to drive up to the place in the dark, in its glory, and many a vehicle passing in the street slowed down to view the display.

Well, we sold the place and are living in a city condo. Can you imagine that woman trying to set up a worthwhile Christmas display onto a  26 by 6 foot balcony (actually a deck as we’re on the ground floor.)? Yet somehow she did. And it looks mighty fine. She seems satisfied, though I know she’s sometimes dreaming of that long dog yard fence of ours, strung all along its length with brilliant blue bulbs. And the lights that followed the outlines of our four tall silver willows. And the softly lit little angel that guarded our illuminated dry creek bridge. And the big pine at the street end of the driveway strung with lights.

I miss those things as well. But I’m also somewhat relieved.


I’m sitting with my grandma on the doorstep of her little house. I’m six, possibly seven years old. It’s a sunny spring or summer afternoon,  but for some reason Santa Claus talk came up in the schoolyard that day. One of the bigger kids has told me there is no such thing as Santa. I don’t believe that, but Grandma decides it’s time I knew the truth. I’m  devastated. I had loved Santa, dreamed Santa, sung the Santa songs, marvelled at the Santa stories.

Some people think selling kids the Santa illusion is wrong, that old St. Nick is not a proper role model. I think that depends on which Santa they’re talking about.

The Santa on TV commercials may be an incentive to  materialism, to excessive consumerism. But the one that illustrates  generosity, the joy in supplying joy to others, may be a great role model.

The Santa that represents “taking” is wrong. The Santa that represents “giving”  is right. And giving, unselfish sharing, should be a big part of the Christmas spirit.

Esther and I wish all  our readers family time, love and fun for the Christmas holiday and for the coming year as well.


Contact Esther or me to comment on columns. Our new address: 110 201 Cree Place Saskatoon, SK  S7K 7Z3. Phone 306 384 8657. Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Wednesday January 12, 2022