I have so many Christmas memories, and some lead me to think about how much has changed in my life. I’m getting older, and folks that made up a great many of those wonderful Christmas memories have moved on, one way or another. My granddaddy and grandmother, Ben and Ruby, were staples, whatever you call it that holds, draws and keeps family and tradition alive. My kids had a chance to be a part of that, which I’m thankful for, and they know how it feels when it’s no longer there in reality; however they have their own memories, and I hope those memories don’t fade completely away — I guess that’s part of my job to help keep those memories warm.
“I MUST stop Christmas from coming!”
My question is this: who, or what, in Haywood County is stopping Christmas from coming? Hhhhmmmm, when did you last stop by the gas station? Have you put any oil in the barrel for the winter? I guess this is the point where I could say something about the positive short-term effects of climate change and global warming. How many of us are either behind on credit card payments or just paying the minimum? How is your mortgage payment coming along?
I never experienced a Christmas without gifts, thanks Mom and Dad and all family members. I do know we have kids in Western North Carolina that have had that memory of no presents on Christmas morning. Working at Canton Middle and having been associated with various programs that help kids fill the void of poverty, I know what it means for a kid to get something for Christmas.
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
“Maybe Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more!”
I agree with Grinch, Christmas shouldn’t be in the stores, debt or depression, but in hearts and memories. This year a group of Canton kids who may not (just yet) understand the gift of giving will dress as elves and collect presents from Christmas parade watchers. We have banks, churches, motorcycle riders and folks at the paper plant helping kids year after year with gifts, and that’s great. We aren’t competing or trying to take anything from that — just trying to add to that with our kids participating in a meaningful way. We will be collecting presents in the Canton (Dec. 6) Christmas parade then giving them to someone in the community who needs some help making a good memory. We are working with the schools and churches to identify those families.
How does this work? At the beginning of the parade, our float will be empty — except for a Christmas tree and a couple of elves. The idea is simple — the float should fill up as we make our way along the parade route. Our elves will walk beside the float and receive wrapped gifts, with gender and age marked on a tag from parade-watchers; they will then pass it up to the helper elves who will place it under the tree.
I’m asking you to provide a gift that brings a smile and warmth — something that replaces the memory of no present. Maybe, hopefully, a little more Christmas will exist in our community this year.