The Hermit Poet

December 25, 2006

Christmas Wishes

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 1:13 pm

Merry Christmas to all my friends, family, and fellow bloggers!

I am home in Penticton celebrating with my family.  I spent part of this morning visiting my father in the hospital and read to him Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales — one of our favorite family traditions.  He enjoyed it quite a bit and I enjoyed the chance to visit.  His voice was weak, so I did most of the talking, but he laughed at our favorite parts.

When I got back to the house, we opened our gifts.  My nephew Thomas, as usual, seemed to walk away with the best loot.  This year I also came out with more than expected.  The microwave was an unexpected gift — I don’t have one currently and haven’t had time or cash to pick one up.  So it will be a welcome addition to my place.  I’ll have the luxury of reheating leftovers without having to use the stove or the frypan all the time.

Given my budgetary constraints, I gave rather simple gifts this year, but tried to find things that would be fitting for each member of my family.  To my mother, I gave a Lazy Susan for the dining table — a convenience which will aid not only dinner time, but also Scrabble matches.  To my sister, I gave a framed copy of “assembly” – one of my poems from the Babbage’s Dream manuscript  – which describes the joy, beauty, and mystery of programming — an appropriate gift I felt for someone who makes their living as a web programmer/designer for a library.  To often in such settings, people forget that the programmer may share the same love of literature and art as the other people in more visibly “artistic” roles.  To my brother-in-law, I gave a card game based on spaghetti westerns — we’ll give it a try later today and see how it plays.  To my nephew, on the verge of two, I gave a set of beginning books and picture books which hopefully will be well-received.

In the end, I find that it’s not what was given or received, but rather the thought and care that each gift reveals.  Certainly new shirts and socks will find their use.  But the time spent with my family and the laughter and peaceful contentment of being together is far more valuable.

For one who has spent much of his life away from home, coming home is a beautiful and moving experience.  In this season where we celebrate birth, life, and hope, I am grateful for both the personal spiritual meaning this day holds for me and my family, and also for the social-cultural impact this season has on us, drawing out good feelings and compassion from us as we turn our hearts and thoughts toward others.

Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy your time together with your loved ones.  And for those who are away from home (and I’ve been there many times myself), know that we think of you and wish you the best.

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