t I will never forget the first time that I realized abundance at Christmas isn’t a reality for everyone. The year was 1985 and I was seven years old. My Dad was the publisher of the Claresholm Local Press newspaper and he had started a Christmas hamper program.
He took me with him to deliver the hampers and it had a profound impact on me. I still have a clear picture in my memory of the first hamper that I looked at before we delivered it. There was a cardboard box with a small turkey, some canned food and three very inexpensive toys. I remember asking my Dad why we were delivering this stuff and he replied, “We are delivering these so that the families will have food and gifts at Christmas”. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I was in a state of disbelief with tears in my eyes when I replied; “This is all that they get for Christmas?”
Now that I’m much older I appreciate the amount of work, generosity and co-ordination that went into those Christmas hampers. But, at the time, the thought of those meagre hampers being all of the food and gifts for a family at Christmas was absolutely devastating. I had no idea. In my innocent childhood existence I thought that everyone had the same lifestyle that I had. I remember the parents smiling, but crying when they accepted the hamper. I remember the children wearing tattered old clothes in the small, cold house without any visible furniture or decorations.
I think of that day often, especially this time of year. We are fortunate that there are so many charitable groups in our communities who work tirelessly to help people at Christmas and all year long. Thank you to everyone who has chipped in to help everyone have a Merry Christmas this year.