We can’t wait to have our children and grandchildren on Christmas Day. Glenn is the noisy (read fun) grandparent who fills the children with sugary treats, gets them all wound up and sends them home. I am the quiet (read boring) grandparent who reads, colours and makes sure everyone is safe. Our home isn’t exactly kid proof.

And our grandchildren are no longer babies. The youngest one just turned three. Jeremy and Dana and Allison and Ed are wonderful parents. I get exhausted watching them. Glenn and I were young once…I think. Our home will be a happy place with gifts and food for all.

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I wish I could say that about all families, but we live in a broken world filled with hurt and disappointment. That’s where you enter the story. There is still time to share the magic of Christmas with those who may need a little bit of Christmas cheer. I can assure you that your generosity will be returned to you many times over.

I have compiled a list of mostly stolen ideas intended to create more Christmas joy and I would like to share some of them with you:

Adopt a family for Christmas. Illness, unemployment and poverty can suck the joy out of Christmas. Treat some innocent children to the four-gift rule: something they need, something to wear, something to read and something they want.Fill a stocking for a woman who has fled her home because of violence and is spending this Christmas in a shelter. She could use: a hat, gloves, toothpaste, toothbrush, socks, hand cream, chocolates and something extra special.Do you know a senior with arthritic hands? Offer to address Christmas cards and wrap Christmas gifts.Cooking for one is no fun. Choose someone who lives alone and prepare frozen single serving meals that can be reheated in the microwave. While you are at it, share your Christmas baking too.Adopt a grandparent for Christmas. Invite a widow or widower to spend Christmas Day with your family. You could bestow the title of “Honorary Grandparent” on him or her.Christmas is especially difficult for those in hospital. Grab your guitar, some musical friends and sing carols in the hallways and common areas of the hospital. A little bit of Christmas cheer goes further than you can imagine.
Reach out to someone who has experienced loss. Don’t know what to do? It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. A plate of cookies or a poinsettia can touch a heart. Don’t know what to say? “This is just a little something to let you know we are thinking about you.”
Day and night, the radio pumps out “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” Buy a gas card or bus ticket for someone who would love to spend Christmas with family, but can’t afford it. It will be money well-spent.Arrange a Christmas lights tour. Fill your car with folks who would not otherwise be able to enjoy the beautiful lights of Christmas. Drive slowly through the neighbourhood and listen to the “oohs and ahhs.”From our home to yours, we wish you a happy Christmas spent with family and friends.  Hey, it’s the one day of the year that even Tim Hortons locks its doors.