Market Gypsy: The meaning of Christmas

Market Gypsy: The meaning of Christmas

As I listen to The First Noel by The Evergreen Trio and know many of us have gifts to drop off but no time to visit the recipient, I think this time of year is magical yet hectic and nerve racking.

Riddled with guilt because we are unable to spend the holiday with those we love. It may be heart-breaking lonely as many are completely alone, or dealing with someone no longer with them or someone must make the choice between gifts and a meal.

We see so much joy on television and think perhaps we are not living up to what Christmas is all about. Perhaps you don’t even celebrate Christmas and scoff at all its commercialization.

However, there are some of us who believe that the sound of Charlie Brown’s Christmas is all it takes to bring us back to beautiful memories recalled in a way that the original glow and warmth of that moment is restored and surrounds us.

Some of us may take a walk in the woods along the trails and marvel at the sparkle from the snow on the trees and feel the cool air as we are bundled up hearing the crunch of the snow under our step reminding us that a simple moment is magical.

The truth is that we can make it spectacular in very little or extravagant ways. When my mother was a very young child, her family lived on a remote farm in Manitoba. It was during a time when Ukrainian families didn’t have much but knew that their efforts were for generations to follow. To celebrate, they would cook, bake and share it all. They would set the table with a beautifully embroidered tablecloth. They would also place hay under the big wooden kitchen table to symbolize the manger and placed pennies for the children to find. Anyone who would stop by another neighbouring house would always bring a freshly baked loaf of bread wrapped in the finest dish cloth they had and give this simple but yet precious gift to the household.

Remember that it was difficult to have rationed sugar, yeast or flour at times and a loaf of bread to many was a generous gift. But what it symbolized was the wheat and that symbolized good luck, abundance, and a beautiful life in the New Year.

Gift giving is a symbolic offering acknowledging a person that you are grateful for in your life. It is a symbol of joy and connection. But for a moment, consider that caring and loving are not done through gift giving alone and seasonally but practiced all year.

Life has not always been fair or offered me what I thought I’d deserved or my good behaviour was not rewarded. Over the years, I know that I have been selfish, thoughtless, and failed but I have never forgotten that where there is forgiveness, sharing, another chance to give, and unwavering love that the Christmas spirit can be carried on throughout the year.

It isn’t the tinsel or coloured lights or even the Santa suit that makes Christmas, it is you. It is you in all your glory wishing those around you peace, happiness and goodwill. It is you and the joy you bring to peoples’ lives, not just during the holidays but throughout the year.

So enjoy the yuletide, the good food, the trip home, the hug from your parents and the time of the year that is set aside to celebrate whomever and whatever is important to you.

Sharlyn lives in Red Deer preparing for her second West Coast Trail hike or cooking up a feast. For more, find her on Instagram @market.gypsy or Facebook – MarketGypsy.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

Head coach Jason Chatwood, left, sports one of the Sylvan Lake Gulls’ first on-field hats next to Aqil Samuel, general manager and president of baseball operations, earlier this year.
Sylvan Lake Gulls ticket sales off to flying start

With the inaugural season quickly closing in, the Sylvan Lake Gulls hit… Continue reading

Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s chief medical health officer publicly criticizes staffer who leaked info

EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, dealing with rocketing COVID-19… Continue reading

The RCMP major crimes unit is investigating after a person was found dead at a residence on Stewart Street in Red Deer’s Sunnybrook neighbourhood Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Red Deer RCMP investigating suspicious death in Sunnybrook

A ‘deceased adult’ was found by officers

A detail from Canyon Light, an oil painting by Joan Clement, in the Scale exhibit by members of the Red Deer Art Club. It’s showing at the Viewpoint Gallery in the city’s Culture Services Centre. (Contributed image).
Outdoor art gallery and scavenger hunt is on in Red Deer next month

But First Friday receptions and patio concerts are postponed

Mahomes vs. Brady spices up Thanksgiving holiday week

Mahomes vs. Brady spices up Thanksgiving holiday week

Cowboys miss chance for NFC East lead with another home loss

Cowboys miss chance for NFC East lead with another home loss

Arsenal, Leicester, Hoffenheim advance in Europa League

Arsenal, Leicester, Hoffenheim advance in Europa League

Keegan Messing performs during the Men's Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won't be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canada might not compete at world figure skating championships – if they happen

Canada might not compete at world figure skating championships - if they happen

A piece of hockey history is up for sale, with a rare Vancouver Millionaires sweater, seen in an undated handout photo, hitting the auction block. The cream and maroon wool cardigan is believed to have belonged to Hall of Fame goalie Hugh Lehman, who backstopped the Millionaires to a Pacific Coast Hockey Association championship in 1922-23. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Lelands Auction, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Hockey history up for sale as 97-year-old Vancouver Millionaires sweater hits auction

Hockey history up for sale as 97-year-old Vancouver Millionaires sweater hits auction

Canada’s Nembhard scores 11 points off the bench in Gonzaga debut

Canada’s Nembhard scores 11 points off the bench in Gonzaga debut

Mighty Heart is breezed by exercise rider Des McMahon, at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Woodbine Entertainment says it has officially cancelled the rest of its thoroughbred racing season following discussions with the Ontario government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Woodbine Racetrack ends horse racing season after talks with provincial government

Woodbine Racetrack ends horse racing season after talks with provincial government

As Alberta’s COVID-19 cases rise, so does tension over world junior championship

As Alberta’s COVID-19 cases rise, so does tension over world junior championship

Most Read