Making a list, checking it twice…


So, did you get it all done? Did you send off all the Christmas cards to all the people on your list and those who weren’t on your list but who sent you cards? Did you buy presents for co-workers staying within the agreed $10-20 range?

Were you one of those super organized types who even managed to soak the dried fruits early and then bake enough black cake to give some away as gifts? Did you make the souse or buy it? And what about the pastilles, the sorrel and the ginger beer? Do you have the leg of ham, the turkey, the gungo/pigeon peas?

These days, you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen with relatives and neighbours burning energy stirring a wooden spoon in a big yabba clay bowl while you mix all the black cake ingredients. But that means you miss the convivial back and forth that also comes with that Christmas preparation event.

Did you buy a real tree this year, filling your home with the fresh smell of pine? Or did you pull out the usual artificial configuration?

It doesn’t matter which, because if there are any children buzzing around your home at this time of year, all that matters is the tree is up, that it’s decorated and the lights are twinkling right through the season.

And are your children at the age where they are beginning to argue with you about all the reasons they believe there is no Santa Claus? Or are they still young enough to know that he is real.

Are you tired yet from all the things that you had to do, and now looking forward to the holiday Boxing Day Monday to just relax after all the activity? Or are you already planning your strategy, having perused the flyers so that you can get that computer/flat panel TV/ leather sofa?

Are you one of the lucky ones who are just now packing for that much needed break in a sunny place back home? Is it going to be Christmas in the Caribbean for you?

And if you’re going back home, did you buy enough ‘small somethings’ to give to all the friends and relatives? You know they will be expecting it.

This really is a special time of year, unlike any other, despite the cold weather, when that spirit of fellowship wells up to such an extent. And it doesn’t matter how young or old you are. It doesn’t even matter if you try to ignore the festive atmosphere, somehow, and in some way you will be affected by it. It is the time of year when the feeling is joyous for just about everyone, even for people of other religious faiths.

Even if you are here without family, there is no need to miss out on the shared feeling of fellowship. Many people at this time find that the best way to celebrate Christmas is to give their time to making those who are less fortunate feel that they too matter.

Are you one of the many who are volunteering this weekend to serve Christmas dinner to the needy? Receiving a gift at Christmas can be a pleasure, but the greater joy is the gratification that comes with being able to give, most especially to someone in need.

And are you over the spate of Christmas carols that are everywhere to be heard, especially in shopping malls? Or do you embrace the songs that are specific to this time, while singing along to your favourites? Do you prefer the traditional carols – “Silent Night”, “Come all ye Faithful” or are you more in tune with Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas” or Bryan Adam’s “Reggae Christmas”.

And do you plan to attend a midnight mass or other Christmas church service? For it really is about that at its core, isn’t it?

Remembering the special day when Jesus Christ was born. Let’s not even get into a debate about when that actual date was. What matters is the recognition of that seminal event.

Sometimes, in a bleak world, all that any individual has to hold on to is one’s faith in the presence of a loving spirit that can be relied on in times of worry or care. That’s what makes Christmas so special; it is a positive reminder of that truth.

A note on the Christmas weather…

Forecasters say not to expect a white Christmas this year. Apparently, Jack Frost is on vacation with La Niña. Those whose chore at home is to shovel the snow find that completely agreeable. Those who are hired to do so, not so much.

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