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Left to right: Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington CEO Ross Godsoe (left) and RAHB president Cameron Nolan (right) present Barry Coe of Mission Services with a cheque for $1,200 on behalf of the Realtors Care Foundation. The funds will help the agency assist 1,000 families in the Hamilton area by providing food hampers and toys this holiday season. Submitted photo

Christmas memories

Barry Coe, Mission Services

The first snow fall of this winter arrived with a vengeance a couple of weeks ago. Although it only lasted one day the driving, wet snow made most of us to realize that Christmas is just around the corner.

At Mission Services, we have been planning our Christmas Care Program for months. However, at our household, the Christmas decorations remained snug and safe in the rec room. One of the neat things about decorating a Christmas tree is unwrapping memories. The newspaper we use to cushion the Christmas ornaments at our home goes back to the 1980s. (We must change the paper this year!)

Maybe I am getting more sentimental in my old age but opening each box of decorations was like greeting an old friend you have not seen in some time. A pipe cleaner decoration fashioned into an elf in Grade 1 by my daughter always makes me smile. A pine cone crafted into a downhill skier in Grade 2 is another sentimental favorite, courtesy of my son.

Christmas is certainly built upon a foundation of family memories and love. The family dynamic becomes interesting when you decide not to put up or out a cherished decoration. You think the kids won’t notice, but do a test this year and see what happens.

Every year I must between putting out a crèche or nativity scene I made years ago when the children were small and a beautiful ceramic nativity scene. The power of the past and joy linked to the homemade nativity scene always wins out!.

Part of the joy of transforming the house into a winter wonderland is finding and playing old Christmas albums. I have the Michael Bublé and Justin Bieber Christmas CDs from last year to complement my Perry Como, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra albums.

This year, as I was auditioning the Christmas record collection for ticks, cracks and general playability, an old Jim Reeve Christmas Album caught my eye. “CHRISTMAS” was one of the tracks and I cued it up to play.

C is for the Christ child born upon this day, H for herald angels as they sang…it brought back so many memories for me. Of the school Christmas pageant (a political no-no today), real Christmas trees in class (health and safety issue) and singing Christmas carols at the Christmas Concert.

In Hamilton, we have often witnessed the debate over “Seasons Greetings” or “Merry Christmas” signage installed going up the Jolley Cut…even a wonderful time of joy and hope can become a topic for discussion in some circles.

Christmas is about hope, love, family and the birth of a baby thousands of years ago that transformed the world in which we live.

Make sure this year you make an extra effort to ensure that the next generation knows the real reason for Christmas and share with them the stories of Christmases past and the people who were a part of them.

Maybe it’s a Christmas tea cup, perhaps a Christmas vest, maybe a recipe for Christmas morning muffins. My favorite tradition was reading the Christmas story, Luke- Chapter 2, on Christmas Eve and ‘Twas the Night before Christmas to my children – and now my grandchildren.

Be sure to share whatever happy traditions make up your family’s Christmas, and also let the younger generation know about the real reason for the season.

If you wish, I can even lend you my Jim Reeves Album and play them the CHRISTMAS song.

From everyone at our home to yours, a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year filled with love, health and hope!


Barry Coe is Director Community Relations & Resource Development for Mission Services of Hamilton.

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