As we charge into the festive season with just over a week to go before the big guy in the red suit lobs, personally it is quite thought provoking of what it all means.
I was walking George the dog the other night and just as we went past a house that had all things lit up for Christmas, I saw a shooting star. It was a whopper and fell right in front of us. So, my first thoughts were: what do I wish for?
What it actually made me do was think about how my dad Len managed to provide for us – particularly me, as I was a demanding, fat little kid.
I remember at one school break-up, someone asked my dad how come we never got that new tractor he had been talking about. He simply replied: “We ate it.” He could have said we had no money and had to live, but he just left it to the imagination of those around us.
In saying that, I can’t remember going without anything. I am sure my parents did, but I was oblivious to it. But I do think Old Mate and I learnt from both sets of parents that same lesson: make sure the kids enjoy Christmas.
My most vivid memory of a Santa gift was when Dragster bikes came out. I just had to have one. I reckon I carried on about it for months leading up to Santa coming. It must have driven my parents mad – my misguided strategy.
So, on the big day, it arrived: a bright purple bike with a basket on the front and streamers on the handlebars. One short, fat and happy kid. Sure, we never had a washing machine or a hot water system, but I had a purple bike. It didn’t particularly like dirt roads but hey, I was happy. A bit like when we became parents and couldn’t afford a concrete driveway for years but the kids mostly got what they wanted. That is parenting sometimes: we need to prioritise the fun stuff.
So, as I watched the falling star disappear in front of me, I didn’t wish for a million dollars, a new car, a world trip or the like. I wished for health, happiness and a fulfilling life for family and friends, which I reckon is all we really need and way better than even a Dragster bike.
Have a great Christmas and do something nice for someone who needs it, because the gift is definitely in the giving.