By Linda Benson

Hello everyone.  I just wanted to send a word of hope and peace for our upcoming Christmas season.  This year has simply flown by, especially for me.  I’m actually still in the Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day mode. Oh, talking of which, I saw this wonderful Poppy display, in the Burlington Mall…. I am glad that the younger people are now learning of the true meaning of this special day, when our brothers and sisters fought for our continued freedoms.  Not only do we acknowledge those who fought in the first and second world wars, but also remember and honour those in more recent times.

Oh and Theodore, it was an honour to see you close up, once again, at the Hamilton Harbour.  (I actually can’t believe my friend asked who Theodore is!!).
Christmas, I just can’t believe it’s almost here.  I am not one of those people who prepare ahead of time, I am not considered a “Christmas Shopper”, mostly leaving everything to the last minute.   Yes, a Christmas Eve shopper in the flesh, that’s me.  Although, during the past few years, I have preferred to donate my time to “not for profit” organizations rather than stress out about the actual day itself.  Since the boys fled the coop, I no longer worry about the meal, grocery shopping and all the preparations beforehand.  Should you happen upon my home on Christmas Day, you may find a Shepherd’s pie, a Chili or a sandwich, equally tasty, just not the traditional Christmas affair.

However, I realize many of my North End friends and neighbours come from huge families, and this season is one of great expense, both with family gatherings and all the preparations that go with it.  To you I say, take a moment to breathe and enjoy the day for what it is, a time to celebrate with family.

There are also many who are not able to celebrate, for whatever reason, and to you, I say this is a day of rest, a day to enjoy the peace and quiet that surrounds you.  If you are away from your family, as I am, this is a day to reach out via video chat or email, or for a more personal touch, a phone call.  If you are alone and/or feeling lonely, please reach out to someone, anyone, a neighbour, a friend, someone you trust.

There are many organizations, “not for profit” and churches, that can help you, provide you with a meal, clothing, toys and support. I am happy to provide you with contact information for local organizations.

My Christmas wish is for everyone to feel joy and peace in their hearts, not to be caught up in the materialism of this season, and to remember those who are struggling, sending them prayers of love and safety, and for our world to begin to heal from all it’s been through.

Peace and Joy