December is the month when families get together – they might picnic in the summer or go on a holiday however, the whole family is not usually able to go at the same time. But most families try to be “home” for the holiday. It is, as I know from experience, hard to juggle both sides of the family of those who are married – some celebrate on Christmas Eve and others celebrate on Christmas and from time to time one or more branches of the family have other commitments, someone is ill in another province or many simply have to work.
I was very lucky that in all my years of working, I only had to work one-half of one Christmas Day. Not many were so lucky and they simply took it in their stride – in the hospital, they tried to make it a special day for those who remained on the wards. And they surely deserve the gratitude of all of us. But it is not only in hospitals, there are many professions that require at least a basic number of staff even on holidays. People need to fill up on gas for their cars, there has to be at least one pharmacy who have staff available for emergencies. Some small grocery stores will open for necessities like formula for the babies.
The folks that I admire greatly are those who put on the Town of Ponoka’s Community Christmas. What a blessing it must be for residents who are not close to family. This is held on Christmas Day so that anyone who is alone or has no extended family is not left out. Volunteers spend at least part of their day, cooking, serving and smiling. Some entertainment is provided. I have a cousin in another province who is unmarried and had recently moved far away from relatives. He told me that he took advantage of the invitation of the Community Christmas and he has attended many times . He said it was always a great day, full of laughter and music and reminiscing about earlier Christmas Days.
I will end this year of columns on this happy note – God bless you all on Christmas and always!